Sunday, March 13, 2011

Inanimate Arch Enemy

From 1995-1998, I worked at the Western Board of Music, an educational institution for music instruction. The Board's headquarters was an old house in the Garneau region of Old Strathcona, next to the HUB Mall parking lot at the University of Alberta.

This photocopier, located on the second floor, was my nemesis.

While working at Western Board I could often be found photocopying handouts, newsletters and the like until the copier inevitably jammed. On one memorable day the magnitude of the paper jam was such that one of the interior paper rollers was stripped to the metal core, most of the rubber shredded into the bowels of the machine. I called for a service technician, who was understandably baffled when he saw the damage.

Changing the toner was even worse; the cartridges were of such shoddy construction that they leaked inky black soot all over the place. Each time I attempted this task, I'd get black toner all over my hands, my clothes, the photocopier, the floor, the walls. It was a nightmare. Thanks to this photocopier I know what toner tastes like. I'm pretty sure I inhaled a bunch of it, too. You wouldn't think that serving as an executive assistant would be hazardous, but it became so anytime I ventured to the second floor.

Even worse, not long after I was promoted to executive director we ran out of money to pay for any other staff, so I still had to battle the copier.Thankfully, I'd done enough freelance writing at this point to make the leap to a professional writing career, and I've fought with photocopiers only rarely since then.


Anonymous said...

But you were an awe-inspiring EA!

Earl J. Woods said...

Aw thanks. ;) One day I'll tell the envelope story!