by Steven Craig

I got home late yesterday, and my mom of all people was calling franticly, something about a short in the garage door opener, and that it was going to burn the house down while she slept. So, she was not sleeping until she got to talk to me, and tell me all about this short circuit.

So, I listened to her for about 20 minutes describing the problem while she paniced that the house would burn down.

The garage door remote control in the car was not working.

When she used the wall switch, it light inside it would start flashing and blinking.

The part time gardener said it had to be a short circuit and the house is likely to burn down.

So, I got the garden report. She was not making this up.

I told her I would call her back when I had a chance to find out what the story was. She did not want to hang up, for she was certain that the moment she did, the garage would burst into flames and the house would burn down.

I was not so convinced, and I told her I would call back. She wanted to know when, today, tomorrow, next week, how long would she have to go without sleep waiting for the house to burn down?

Well, I was going to take a few minutes, so I told her to sit tight, the house was not going to burn.

She did not believe me, but hung up anyway. ANd waited inside for the house to burn down.

I needed to know, why a 14 year old electric garage door opener would have its control lights flashing when it was activated from the wall switch.


Yes, Google is always the answer.

> Electric Garage Door Opener Blink

High tech is always the way to go when you have the time to do battle with a computer.

And the thousands of answers poured out of the void onto my screen.

Far from being a house consuming short circuit, the silly device was trying to tell her something in code.

Seems, some time past, some engineer decided to include a computer chip in the garage door opener, and to keep things cheap, used the light on the control switch to communicate with the garage door user.

The light would flash.

If it flashed about say 10 times, them the remote control has been locked out. Hmmmmm.

If it flashed about say 6 times, them maybe something is blocking the safety devices that prevent the door closing on the operator if they are standing there in the way.

That sort of thing.

So, there is no disaster waiting to happen, no fire about to consume my moms house in 60 seconds or so.

But how do you convince a 94 year old mom who has never used a computer let alone heard of Google, that she had nothing to worry about.

Wait until she hears there is a computer in the garage door opener. And it talks to her though the flashing lights.

And just how did she manage to lock out the remote control in the first place?

Would she really believe me?


I called her back, and in my best non-technical speak, told her that the flashing light meant that somehow the remote was locked out, and I would go out there and correct it. The house was in no danger of burning down.

I waited.

She was thinking on this.

She then asked me sounds like there is a computer in it, yes?

Moms can be so hard to fathom.


Posted on 11/13/2008
Copyright © 2020 Steven Craig

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Colleen Sperry on 11/13/08 at 10:52 PM

never underestimate Mom's... this is a delightful story!

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 11/13/08 at 11:24 PM

Loved this.

Posted by Gabriel Ricard on 11/14/08 at 04:32 AM

Awesome. Very cool train-of-thought.

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