THE BLOG
01/05/2015 09:52 am ET Updated Mar 07, 2015

I'm With Stupid: Hapless Luddite Prevails Over Modern Technology

Since I know you all read last week's column, I'll assume you're dying to hear about my adventure with the Xbox that Santa left under our tree, so here goes.

Naturally, the Xbox was the first present my son opened. The wrapping paper came off, and then my son yelled, "Oh my gosh!" about 20 times in a row. My son then opened the rest of his presents in a stupor and grudgingly let me and my wife open our presents. Having dispensed with those unimportant details, he insisted I set up the Xbox so he could get started playing his Minecraft game, a gift from his parents.

Do you guys remember the days of Atari or, if you were lucky, ColecoVision, where you would buy a console, plug it into the TV, put a game in it and then play the game? Evidently, those days are long gone and I just didn't know it.

I rearranged the TV to climb through our massive cabinet to get the Xbox plugged into the power strip, and then I made sure to connect it to the right port on the TV and track down the correct remote to switch the TV to the proper source. Then my son turned the Xbox on.

The TV screen flickered to life. Success! Moments later words appeared on the screen that said something like, "Xbox One upgrade needed. Unable to upgrade at this time." Upgrade? I just took it out of the freaking box. How the hell could it need an upgrade?

I clicked on the "Try Again" button about 10 times, but the Xbox was still unable to upgrade itself and my son was unable to play Minecraft, which was nearly bringing him to tears on Christmas.

Fearing something nefarious, I checked on the Internet to find that the biggest headline of the day was that some douchebag computer hackers calling themselves Lizard Squad had taken out the Xbox and PlayStation networks. So, despite the fact that my son had the console and the game he wanted to play, he couldn't play it.

Hours later, when Xbox came back online, our unit finally upgraded. Now, all we had to do was make an account. It was my son's Xbox, so we made an account in his name, and when it came time to give his birthday, we gave his birthday. Big mistake.

My son inserted the Minecraft CD, which also required an upgrade fresh out of the box, and then he used his Xbox account to log on. The Xbox considered this for a moment and then told him he needed a parent's permission to play the game. So we navigated back to the home screen and tried to set up an account for me, but since we'd already used my email address for my son's account, we couldn't.

My wife volunteered her email address, and we made an account in her name, and then we went on my son's Xbox account and sent a request for an OK to my wife's account, which generated an email to my wife asking her if my son could play his game. And then, when that didn't work, we called Xbox technical support, and after 40 minutes on hold and much explaining, we got the situation sorted out, and my wife was able to tell the Xbox that my son could play the game she gave him.

Thinking we'd finally done everything we needed to do to play the stinking game, we turned back to the Xbox, which had frozen up completely. No worries. We turned it off and let it reboot, but when it came back on, it immediately froze up again.

Three more fruitless attempts to get the Xbox rebooted prompted another call to technical support, and after another 40 minutes on hold, I finally got to speak to a woman whose first question was, "Is the Xbox plugged into a power strip?"

I replied that it was, and she told me that the Xbox had its own surge protector and wouldn't work correctly unless it was plugged directly into the wall. So I rearranged the TV and climbed once again into the massive cabinet to unplug the Xbox and plug it into the wall, and wouldn't you know it? It worked. My son could finally play Minecraft on his Xbox.

We have since purchased another controller so I can play Minecraft with my son, but as with most modern things, I just don't see the appeal.

Todd Hartley likes toys with no wires or moving parts. He finds them soothing. To read more or leave a comment, please visit zerobudget.net.