I cashed in my favorite son discount at Staples and ordered a new Multifunction Laser/Fax/Scanner/Printer. I actually placed the order whilst sipping from my pint glass at O’Hanlon’s earlier in the week. I phoned mom at home and gave her the details. She works at Staples Call Centre. I saved $20 on a $307 order.
It was waiting for me in the office when I arrived yesterday afternoon. We spent several hours getting to know each other. The printer it replaced looked on from a distant, forgotten corner.
A part of me felt bad, but in reality, that printer had been using me for too many years. It cost nearly $5,000 and it didn’t do a very good job of photocopying, faxing, or sending documents electronically. I put up with this behavior because I figured that it’s a $5,000 printer, and therefore its shortcomings must be my fault somehow. For six years I continued this averse relationship with my HP 4100 until finally, last week, it swore at me. Not directly mind you, it said it in printer speak. Something like “-62 Error.”
Something in me snapped. I thought back to all the memories we had together. Those late nights of printing, clearing jams whenever I tried to use the duplexer, finagling with settings so photocopies would show up as readable, and sacrificing chickens so that important faxes would go through properly. There were so many disappointments, and yet, every once in a while, it would reward me with a job well done. I came to live for those moments. It was a roller coaster ride of ups and downs and I forgot that other people in ‘normal’ relationships with their printers don’t have any of that drama. I realized that I was in an abusive relationship.
I looked back and saw myself in the past making excuses for my printer’s behavior when my friends were around. There were times I even lied to cover up for its mistakes. Month by month, year by year, I slowly distanced myself from my friends, until there was no one left in my life to talk ‘printers’ with. “-62 Error” was like a slap in the face and I made the decision that enough was enough. I needed to break free.
They say that sometimes in life, “The asshole printer you know is always better than the one you don’t know.” I think that’s what was holding me back. But I’m free now. I’m ready to start a new relationship, with a new printer, a $307 printer that came with a $20 discount. It does everything the old printer did, but better… and nicer.
I feel like it respects me, and that’s all a guy can ask for.