Install modem

I am very new to Linux so please bare with a "n00bie".I have been trying to install a serial modem on my laptop and I seem to be getting more confused by the minute. It is a Hayes 56k (nothing but dialup where I live) modem and I need some step by step instructions. Please keep in mind I need them to be"dumbed up" pretty good.Also, how do I set up "root" priviledgesThanks