Operator Malfunction

When I was a kid, my bro and I used to always get on my Dad's Commodore 64 and try to program ( or just play games ).  I remember that sometimes we would run out of the "office" and get Dad, who was most likely watching TV or reading in the living room, and we'd say things like, "Dad!  We can't get this stupid thing to work, it keeps hanging up and just not working!", or some similar desperate, oblivious plea.

He would "hrrrumph" as he got up from the floor and start following us back to the computer, whereupon I would hear him say, "Ah... it's probably just operator malfunction."

The first couple times I didn't ask what he meant, because I liked to think that I was smart and I would just figure it out when he showed us what was wrong anyway.

Then one time he said the phrase again, and I realized that I had no idea what he was talking about so I said, "What do you mean by 'operator malfunction'?  What's the operator?"

My brain rapidly shuffled through images of circuit boards, transistors and all manner of mysterious electrical components trying to figure it out.

He poked me in the forehead, holding his finger there, then pushing away as he said,"YOU operate the computer, right?" I watched him slowly smile as he watched the me grasp the concept and then he laughed that belly chuckle, "heh ha!", as I scowled and twisted my face at the idea that it could possibly be my fault.

"Ahhh...", I said, reluctantly, but smiling as we sat down to figure out the problem.

Sometimes, after that,  he would hold his finger up in the air like Einstein and proclaim, "Operator Malfunction!"

To this day, I find that the vast majority of my computing problems are due to "operator malfunction".

Miss you Dad.

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