See you in hell, printer!

Posted on May 14, 2011


Yesterday I fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams and threw my printer out the window.

Sensitive viewers may want to look away from the carnage.

All my life I’ve wanted to toss a printer out the window as a lesson and a warning to other printers: I will no longer put up with your blinking lights, paper jams, misaligned printing, and constant requests for new ink cartridges beginning only days after a new cartridge has been inserted!  You have one job, printer!  Printing!  Do your job!

Starting with childhood during the era of continuous paper with the perforated edges that would skip holes and jam, printers have been asking for it.  Every time a printer refused to print a report for school as I heard the bus coming, and every time I had to print a meeting presentation starting in ten minutes but the printer just blinked its stubborn light in response to my pleadings, I dreamed of sending that printer sailing through the air on a short journey to electronics hell.

Yesterday it all came to a head.  I had been asked to perform two roles at a reading of original one act plays, and after finishing work I raced home to print both parts, a total of sixty pages, but the printer only blinked.  I had to be there at 5:30 to rehearse before we started at 7:00, and I explained the urgency to my printer, but he just blinked his red error light and sent me messages about low ink or paper jams or my USB plug not being recognized.  I told him I’d have to sit in front of 150 people with nothing to read, but he just blinked.

I tried talking sweet.  I tried being nice.  He just blinked.  At 4:45 I told him he was asking for a short flight out the window.  I shook it.  I lifted it in the air and shouted, “I’m gonna do it!  Don’t tempt me!  You don’t think I have the guts?  I’ll do it!”

Still he only blinked, and I wondered if the printer could understand me, so I typed the following message and pressed print:

“All my life I’ve dreamed of throwing a printer out the window, and if you haven’t printed by 5:00 that dream is going to come true. Bwwahhahhahhaahaaaaa!”

Finally the printer began humming and delivered the following message:

“Maybe if you’d started life with a more ambitious dream, today you would be wearing clean underwear.”

I answered:

“Straighten up and print right!”

But he printed it like this:

“Cool down papa, don’t you blow your top.”

I typed:

“I’m gonna take you down!  Downtown to Chinatown!”

He answered:

“You know what else is going down?  My ink levels.  Inexplicably.  Both tri-color and black even though you never print in color.  While you’re in Chinatown, better pick up three more cartridges, shouldn’t cost you more than $250.”

I pounded out the following message and furiously clicked the print button:

“Mess with the bull and you get the horns!”

He printed back:

“Mess with the inker, get the blinker.”

At 5:00, the absolute latest time I could leave and arrive by 5:30, I started saying things like, “Oh, no, you didn’t.  Aww, snap!  Oh, no, you didn’t.”

I got it to print out one script (poorly), but he wouldn’t even sniff at the second.  At 5:30 I called a friend who was also reading the second play, and since we weren’t on at the same time she said she would hand off her script.

That’s when the printer’s attitude changed:

“Hey, buddy!  What’s up?  What are your plans for the summer?  We should totally do something.”

I grabbed the printer, opened the third story window, ignored my wife as she asked, “What are you doing with the printer?” and threw him against the tile patio below, shouting, “I’ll see you in hell!”  As he hurtled towards the ground, the red error light blinked once, then turned to green.  “Too late,” I called out as the printer exploded across the ground.

It was wonderful.

As soon as I get another printer I’m going to use it to print the following pictures as a warning.

I kept all the pieces in case I want to reassemble and destroy again later.

A4 vs. A5 is the least of your worries now.

Don’t mess with me printers.  I’ve got ink on my hands.  Tell your friends.

Printers have been asking for it, right?

Posted in: Columns