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Family Man 9-6
And my mom's big gift is ...
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Earlier this week we celebrated my mother’s blankety blank birthday with a semi-surprise party involving purple cake, edible butterflies, princess outfits and unspiked, yet delicious, punch that was of wedding quality. Frankly, the punch and those little mints mixed with nuts you get are the only things that make going to a wedding even remotely tolerable.
Anyway, at the top of the list at her birthday party was the big reveal when it came to her surprise birthday gift. As you will recall, if you read last week’s column, I had gotten both my wife and mother the same thing for their birthdays (which are close together). The issue was keeping the secret from mom who turned into an elderly Nancy Drew in trying to ferret out the surprise.
Seeing that part of my reputation as a best-selling mystery author (OK, medium selling but you can always come to the office and buy you an R.D. Sherrill novel to help me become best-selling) is leaving my readers with a cliff-hanger, it was no problem to leave both my mom and my readers trying to figure out what the big surprise was. Actually, it was nothing flashy or expensive but it was something I knew they both could get use from. Drum roll please. The surprise gift was an Amazon Echo Dot.
For those unwashed savages among us (and I do cherish those savages who read my column), an Echo Dot is one of those things you can ask stuff and get an answer to almost any question you can imagine. You can also have it play music, make lists, set alarms and even have it read books in your digital library. More advanced users can even use it to remotely control lights, heating and air and a variety of other household things. Bottom line, these things are neat.
Mom was immediately excited when she began talking to Alexa. That’s the name of the female voice that responds to your voice.
“You just tell her what you need and she will do it,” I explained after setting it up. “Any music in the world you want to hear, any question you want answered or you can even have it read one of your favorite son’s (I’m her only son) novels to you.”
I left knowing she would have a ball breaking in the new toy. However, when I woke up the next morning, there was an issue.
“I think I may have made Alexa mad,” the text from mom read. “I told her to turn off the wake-up alarm and she hasn’t spoken to me since.”
At that point I took it on myself to explain to her that Alexa is not actually a person and she didn’t make her mad. However, when I went to her house and spoke, Alexa immediately perked up and responded.
“See, she wouldn’t talk to me,” mom argued. “She must like you better.”
Rolling my eyes, I assured her that Alexa doesn’t play favorites.
“Well next time she don’t respond, I’ll call you on the phone and let you speak with her,” mom replied. “She likes you better.”
Standard reporter Duane Sherrill can be reached at 473-2191.