Me vs. the Office Machines

I had my midyear review this afternoon.  “How is it going for you?” my supervisor asked.  “Well, just so-so,” I admitted.


“Well, you know, January is a tough month, certain kids are hard to handle, there’s been a lot of time-consuming data to analyze.  And then, since I’m the grade chair, I’m in charge of keeping the printer running.”

“The printer!” she was incredulous.  But the printer runs out of ink regularly, and sometimes worse things happen, and it’s my responsibility to stop what I’m doing and get more ink, fill out a work order, and while it’s not working people come by and ask about it.  Every hour or so.

But in truth, the printer is no more troublesome than the copiers, it’s just more personal.   We have three copiers in our school.  On any given day, one of them has a paper jam.  Sometimes all three do.  Now we’re not supposed to unjam the copier.  Someone from the office staff who is trained is supposed to do that.  But the office is on the other side of the building, and there you are, ten minues to the end of planning, and if you don’t get that copier unjammed you will not have your copies.

It’s probably a testament to my lawless nature that I have become a pro at unjamming the copier.  In fact, I have been known to come in, see someone struggling with it, and say, “let me see that.”  I start doing the routine by memory.  You’ve got to rotate knob 3a, flip the red knob 4c out in a certain way, pull tray 5 out, and what you’ll find is there’s often a whole sheet in there.  Once you take out the sheet, the printer gives a musical two tone beep and you’re back in business.  I generally don’t have any trouble getting printers unjammed unless some foolhardly soul reached in without undoing the knobs first and ripped the paper.  When you just most of a sheet in there, you know you’re in for it.  But generally, if you persevere, you can get the copier back running again.

Despite my facility with the copiers I will not touch the laminator.   In all honesty, I tried to load it by myself — I had been trained — but somehow the film didn’t go through to the back, instead it wrapped around the rollers and jammed itself tight so the machine came to a grinding stop, bound up in it’s own film.  What to do?  I turned the machine off.  I tiptoed out of the room.  Later on in the day, I heard my colleages complaining, “someone broke the laminator again.”  I know my limits now.  I leave the laminator alone.


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