Webcam Mistake

Doc Dover,

I bought my parents a webcam for Christmas. Big mistake, as it turns out the only person they want to video chat with is me. They expect to be able to reach me just about every night. They’re the type where there will be consequences if I don’t cooperate. Any suggestions?

Dear Webcam Mistake,

I would agree that purchasing new(er) technology, whether it be a BD player, DVD player, Color TV, CD player, much less computer peripherals, is a great gift idea for the techno-challenged. I would also have to agree that you need to take the cost of lifetime tech support and add it into the overall gift price. You have a few options, however, in dealing with the nightly YOU broadcast requirement.

You could kill two birds with one stone by taking out this new-found frustration on your own webcam, thereby relieving your overall stress, and providing an acceptable excuse for being unavailable to video chat every evening. You can cheaply replace the webcam in the future if you need it for actual business. Plus this gives you a physical object to use as proof/defense. You can then tell them that your webcam is broken and you haven’t fixed it yet, with little to no guilt.

You could pay a third world worker to take on the task of speaking to them on your behalf. For a few cents on the dollar and a quick personality overview, this is probably not the cheapest option, but an option nonetheless.

Depending on the cultural sensitivities of your parents, you could just invite a few college aged coeds to take part in a graphic performance art piece in the background during one of your chats. Make sure to mention that you’ve allowed them to use the room as a creative space indefinitely, while implying that this was one of their more tasteful performances. Or simply insist on chatting nude, while occasionally standing up to get a drink, stretch your legs, or even scratch an irritant itch. This is more effective if your nether regions are fully exposed in near HD quality resolution for several seconds at a time, while continuing to talk so as to keep their attention fixed on the screen.

There’s a saying that goes something like, “If you don’t want to do something forever, do it extremely poorly once.” There is wisdom in this approach as, if you were to have numerous technical difficulties, such as intermittent microphone failure, camera focus issues, or audio to picture sync problems, they will cease to want to sit through the agony of the chat session. If you are a technically savvy individual that should know how to correct these types of issues, go old school and have friends call you constantly, drop by to ask questions, or any other form of non-virtual distraction or interruption.

I hope these few brief suggestions are enough to get you thinking down the right path. Hopefully you won’t wake up with a severed horse head in your bed the next morning, but if you do, I will disavow any knowledge that this issue was ever addressed and direct you to my team of highly skilled attorneys.

With clever regards,

Doc Dover