This may come as a surprise to you, but there is a new guy in my life. Gina Nielsen fixed me up. She is only 65, which may be a factor that the new guy is also disgustingly young. Gina has no need, at this time, for a man like Mark, but I certainly do — even though I am old enough to be Gina’s mother and possibly Mark’s grandmother. But I don’t care. When you need someone to spark up your life, you are open to possibilities.

Only recently did Mark show up, so it’s still a trial relationship. There is a lot of learning as we get to know one another. For instance, my use of the English language. But we women also know that men are lousy listeners.

Another annoyance is that Mark tends to nod off while I am still wide awake and going strong. This means I often have to nudge him awake in order to communicate. I don’t think he is tired at his young age or that he comes from another country.

We have all been in new relationships that require patience and time. If I am as annoying to him as he is to me, he hasn’t admitted it — yet. I think the worst thing is Mark has no sense of humor. Zilch! He is all about tackling a task. How boring for a gal like me!

Maybe it’s time to fess up. Mark is the male voice in a computer program referred to as “Speak and Listen.” Gina installed it on my computer and printed out (in large type) an impossibly long list of “commands,” which I am struggling to learn. This program was designed for people who are visually challenged, or do not know how to type or perhaps do not have the use of their hands. I speak into a headset, and my words appear on the screen. If I use the right command, Mark will read them back to me in his sonorous male voice — unless he fell asleep.

A friend who knows of my current challenge asked, “Why did you name the guy “Mark” instead of Matthew, Luke or John?” Frankly, I don’t know. Mark is a nice name, and I had to call him something. Well, maybe not, but that’s just my style.

Of course, I had to begin this column in a titillating way to grab your attention. All writers know if you don’t do this the reader will wander off to check something more interesting, like sports or maybe the obituaries. The brazen truth is I have an inner gremlin (no surprise to you) that pushes me into occasionally catching you off guard.

Many of you, like me, have a lady living inside of your iPhone named “Siri,” who can be very helpful, but nobody is perfect. I’m suspicious that Siri and Mark were created in related high-tech labs. Siri is helpful for dictating emails and texts, but whenever I use the word “column,” it appears on the screen as “call him.” Siri came with my “not-quite-smartphone,” and only this morning did she actually get the word “column” right. Now, since Mark and Siri might know each other, I am suggesting she “call him” and straighten him out.

I realize you check this “call him” for chuckles, and I know many of you are seasoned citizens like me. So here goes:

“The older I get, the more I have in common with computers. We both started out with lots of memory and drive, then we become outdated, crash unexpectedly and eventually have to have our parts replaced.” (Source unknown)

This was written today with the questionable help of Mark. Please hold good thoughts if you want this column to continue. Mark and I need all the help we can get!

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