It Takes A Village: Super Duper Thanks To Mom + Dad Pigeon In Iowa

Babies, Mother PB is HERE. She is just in the midst of buying a house, which requires many thousands of documents, large buckets of money and soon I’m sure they’ll be coming with syringes to collect my blood.

In the midst of all that, and saying farewell to a beautiful congregation of ten years, I skipped off to the corn fields of Iowa last weekend to spend a whirlwind day with the Iowa Conference of the United Church of Christ. I flew in, led two workshops, had some great conversations, flew home, and boy are my arms tired! *rimshot*

Something so wonderful happened out there. Yes, I saw a man in overalls, a bow tie and a sports jacket, but there was something even more wonderful than that (and please, don’t try that fashion combo unless you live in Iowa). The wonderful thing is how the BTFM community saved my hide when I got into Techno Trouble as a presenter.

Here’s how it happened. I got to my room at Iowa State University where the projector was set up so I could show my PowerPoint presentations, but none of my Mac adapters worked to hook me up to the projector. After a few minutes of futile fiddling, I began to feel a mild panic. A Tech Guy showed up with his adapter, which also did not work. People were filing into the room, and my panic mounted.

“Are you the real PeaceBang?” I hear. It turns out that a lovely couple attending the workshop are the parents of one of you long-time BTFM pigeons, and we get to chatting and stuff, and it’s so nice to meet them. It really is. They turn out to be not only lovely people but the Saviors of my presentation because they have a PC laptop out in their car that Daddy Pigeon goes out to get.

The plan is for me to e-mail him my PowerPoint presentations so we can show them from his PC. I start my presentation, grateful unto the LORD that the first section is a lecture off of outlines. Papa Pigeon fiddles at the desk behind me and tries to get the PowerPoint up and running. Problem: my e-mails to him haven’t gone through.

I don’t want the participants to see me sweat, so I keep tap dancing with my presentation, trying not to stop the whole thing cold to sit down and cry. What am I going to do if there’s no projector? And by the way, Iowa State University, maybe you could arrange it so that Mac users are able to present at your fine, world-class institution of higher learning? Just a thought?

At the point at which I am at wit’s end and looking like this,


Papa Pigeons says, “I have a thumb drive. Save your PowerPoints on there and I’ll upload it.”

I hear angels singing glorious hymns of praise and without missing a beat while I’m still tap dancing about social media and ministry (did you ever see that scene in “Chicago” where Richard Gere tap dances through his courtroom defense of Roxie Hart? It was like that), I save the presentations off my MacBook Pro, hand them off to Daddy Pigeon, and keep going while he lickety-split saves the data on his computer.

At the very second at which I need the images from my PowerPoint to show up, they do. The presentation comes in at pretty much exactly 1.5 hours and we upload the next one, which also goes beautifully and comes in at 1.5 hours.

And that, my friends, is how social media can connect us and saves our lives. Sometimes in spiritual ways. Sometimes in emotional ways. And sometimes in the form of your mom and dad who become the actual, technical saviors of an important professional commitment that I could not have met without them.

Let the people say AMEN.

The moral of the story is, dumplings, always make sure to either make sure you bring all the possible technological equipment you might possibly need to assure a smooth visual presentation or try to arrange it so that someone’s awesome mom and dad are there to save your ever-loving derriere.

10 Replies to “It Takes A Village: Super Duper Thanks To Mom + Dad Pigeon In Iowa”

  1. Amen! Unfortunately I have no idea of all the technical jargon you are using but I do know how social media is expanding our way of doing things. Always listen to what you children are talking about or Momma and Daddy Pigeon would maybe not have known about you.

  2. PB, I make my share of Power Point presentations, too (though nothing as pithy and on point as what you are doing, but I’m not jealous or anything). You absolutely must get a Dropbox account to store your stuff in the cloud. It’s free for up to 2.5 Gigs, and rates are reasonable for more. In case there’s no wifi at the site, though, I always carry an flashdrive of my presentation, JIC. [I do have a Dropbox. But the Dropbox still has to be hooked up to something, doll, and that something is on my MAC. – PB]

    I work with both Macs and PCs, and I think the issue is the incredible variety of ways that different brands of PROJECTORS interface with computers. They may label themselves as “plug and play” but they ain’t necessarily so. Some, you have to upload software – like a driver – from the projector to the computer. Some, you have to have the projector on before the computer. Others are t’other way around. And some take going through a couple of on and off cycles in no discernibly repeatable sequence. It’s maddening, and it can be nerve-wracking, and make us feel incompetent when it’s not our fault in the least; it’s because it all makes perfect sense to those techies who live on Mountain Dew and Twinkies (Gosh . . . what will they eat now?). When we mere mortals howl, they shake their wonky heads and wonder just what is OUR problem?

    Anyway, so glad it turned out well!

  3. Can be a problem with Macs. I’ve never yet found one that carrying my own hardware didn’t solve. The only problem with relying on Dropbox or other cloud-based solutions for presentations is that every place you’re booked into may not have wifi or remember their own password to grant you guest access – both have happened to me. I usually do a tech talk with their tech person. One told me they couldn’t work with a Mac (actually more than once but back to this case) I asked for the make & model of their projector then explained to them what I’d do – bring my own stuff and we’d be fine. And I was. Great pigeon save!

  4. Coming out of lurkerdom to make a couple comments.

    a) I’m so glad you came to Iowa and was bummed I couldn’t make it to your workshop.

    b) Overalls and a bow tie are not acceptable attire in Iowa either. Actually, if you aren’t over the age of 70, under the age of 5 overalls, or trying to make some inexplicable social statement I think overalls are just a general no.

  5. Good story in general, and good caution for all of us (to be sure we have our presentations available in multiple formats). For me, though, I had a hard time focusing on the story due to the use of “daddy pigeon”. I understood, after second reading, that it was the parents of one of your connections. Initially, I was expecting a story about *your* parents. I found the continued terminology of “mom and dad” and “daddy pigeon” to be infantilizing. I am sure you intended it with affection, but for some reason, the story feels to me as though you placed yourself in the role of a small misbehaving child and not in the role of smart, strong woman accepting reasonable help.

    Aren’t you always cautioning us to be careful to not fall into that trap of being the little girl among grownups? [Betsy, GOO GOO GA GA!! I love you, baby, but YOU GOT TO COME ON, NAOW. – PB]

  6. My then 18 year old went to the large Lutheran youth gathering in New Orleans. Her ‘job’ was to make a video blog of our group, their reactions, comments, etc. This would be made into the ‘sermon’ for the youth gathering Sunday. She (procrastinating) got it done late on Saturday night and found she couldn’t upload it to youtube, nor could she get it on an USB drive to transfer it to her laptop from her pc….so she brought the pc over to church next door….and we did not have the correct cabling for our projector.

    Long story short,
    she put the PC monitor ON HER HEAD so everyone could see it well during the sermon.

    Grace was all over the place that day. Her organized, do-ahead pastor mother was beside herself, but the good news was heard loud and clear!

  7. And I think life’s too freakin’ short for us to be policing each other’s language.

  8. Bee, I think you read too fast. Reread paragraph five and you’ll see that the Pigeon child is the BTFM reader. Mom and Dad Pigeon are the Pigeon’s parents. It surely is not infantilizing to refer to someone’s actual parents as Mama and Daddy. Yay, Pigeon Family! [YES! They were MOM AND DAD PIGEON!- PB]

    Another moral, which I too have learned the hard way: always carrry a thumbdrive. In fact, carry six.

  9. Oooooh, literally parental pigeons. I did miss that! I thought he was a random stranger!

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