Ever tried to figure out something that everybody around you already knows? You hem and haw and fidget around while they roll their eyes?

Not to worry. I’ve got the solution. Once you view this YouTube video, you’ll feel a whole lot better.

Uncle Donnie sent me this video of two 17-year-olds trying to dial a rotary phone.

You have four minutes to dial that phone number,” the parent tells the two boys. He hands them a piece of paper with a phone number.

The kids look at the phone – not quite like an iPhone – and one carefully places his finger in the dial and cautiously turns it slightly.

I think you have to go all the way around,” one tells the other. The “other” again delicately places his finger in the correct number and moves the dial all the way around.

I think we’ve got this, dude,” the finger dialer declares. His buddy calls out the numbers and he gingerly dials each number.

Sorry, they don’t have it. After multiple tries and a little verbal help from Dad, they’ve figured out how to dial – but they haven’t picked up the receiver. One of the boys has a sudden inspiration. He grabs the receiver.

Do we have to pick it up and then do it?” he exclaims.

I don’t have a link but you can probably find it on YouTube if you type in “Teens trying to dial a rotary phone.” It’s worth a view.

We’ve all been in that awkward position where everybody knows something that we don’t. I remember the first time I sat at a computer. It was 1989. I’d just changed jobs. A new hospital. A new office. No typewriter in sight. I was placed in front of a bulky IBM Commodore computer, I think it was called. There was no such thing as Windows. I don’t think the “mouse” had been created yet.

It was a brutal time. Everyone else on the team had been using this new gadget for at least a year. I didn’t even know how to turn it on. And everybody was too busy – or too nasty – to guide me. I was no better than those two teens trying to work a rotary phone. One way or another, I was going to have to figure out how to use this newfangled thing they called a computer.

I may be retired now – kind of – but that video reminded me how important it is to be patient when you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t have a clue, often through no fault of their own.

Marketing people are not known for their accounting ability. Compared to those CPA types, we’ve got different wires going in and out of our brains. I’ll be forever grateful to the accounting lady. Her name was Lola and I still run into her at the Kingwood Kroger. She held a “back-to-basics” class, delicately explaining to us all about GAAP. Nope, not the clothing store but “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.”

Thanks to Lola, I even figured out how to “accrue,” a big deal when you’re setting up your budget. If you already know all about GAAP, your eyes are rolling right now. I didn’t and all it took was for me to admit I didn’t have a clue and for somebody with patience to explain it to me.

And to recall those teens trying to figure out how to work a rotary phone.

Your thoughts? Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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