With similar clockwork timing, pain and misery as a woman's menstrual cycle, Board Meeting Day is nearly upon us at my work place.

I don't know how many of you are blessed enough to work in a place that has a Board of Directors. As I work at a Non-Profit that is trying to profit in the Arts and Programming World, I do. What it means is that a group of people with more money than I shall ever see in this lifetime descend en masse upon my workplace and my coworkers, and try to make sure we aren't fucking up and losing money like some 19th century railroad barons smoking cigars made of $100 bills.

I am naturally being facetious. Board of Directors are actually wonderful things to have, which is why they are depicted so highly in such movies as Iron Man, Batman Begins and—

Ok. NOW I'm just being sarcastic.

But they ARE necessary, and they need to be kept in the Know. This is very important to being a proper Board Member and is achieved through Board Meetings. And so, we--the lowly plebeians of my work place--must prepare for their arrival. The conference room must be set. The projector must be working. The water cups must be the proper 10oz hard plastic tumblers from the store down the street. And the board books explaining what will be discussed must be prepared.

Various coworkers of mine have been doing just that this week—composing, printing, binding and mailing these Tomes of Knowledge to the various Members of the Board. There are only 40 books, and yet the undertaking to construct them is…Intense.

I watch my coworkers struggle to get them approved, the pain and misery etched on their faces. I see them standing at the printer, the hole puncher, the comb binder, the life draining from their limbs. They print them, and reprint them, and print them some more, until the very planet cries out in impotent rage against the shameless waste of paper and toner.

And then I sit at my desk and thank every last Supreme and Demi-Supreme Being that might be found in our Infinite Universe that it's Them, and not Me.

This Tuesday I sat at my desk--contemplating all the Things I intended to do once I was released from the shackle that ties me to my desk during the working hours—a cry rang out from the area around the color printer.

The Victim.

"It jammed again!" was that cry. "But I cleared the paper! But it still says it's jammed!"

I rose from my desk, and sauntered over. This is a frequent occurrence. Usually I casually investigate, find the offending document, remove said offending document, and return to my desk, all wrongs righted once more. I expected this time to be no different from the rest.

How Wrong I Was.

In the HP 5550dn paper jams are simple. The machine is FUCKING HUGE but the paper only runs through the front section of the machine. You pull out the tray, open the flaps, and anywhere the paper MIGHT be jammed is there for the world to see. And yet…

There WAS no paper to be seen.

I took the tray out and opened the flaps several times, certain that if I just kept doing the same steps the paper would magically appear before my eyes*, like in one of those 3D picture books.** SURELY I must simply be over looking it. I grabbed a flashlight to check again. SURELY I must be wrong.

Still no paper to be seen.

I called over Boss!Man*** to look at it; doing this always makes me feel like I've somehow let down my entire gender by proving myself the incompetent woman most technology makes me feel like. But it WAS 5:30pm, and I didn't want to be stuck at work past 6pm. And so, with heavy heart, I acknowledged the oncoming blow to my already frail ego in all things technological.

…and yet he couldn't find any paper jamming the printer either.

On one hand, I inwardly rejoiced that it isn't just me being stupid. On the other hand, the printer was still jammed.

We proceeded to do everything Tech people do when they honestly have no fucking clue what the fuck is going on****. We turned the printer off, turned it on, unplugged it, replugged it, took out the toners, the paper, the tray--


It was now quarter to six, and we were both getting desperate. I could see the little spark of hope that had been in Boss!Man's eye at the prospect of being able to leave at 6pm fade from his eye. I could feel it fade from my own.

Meanwhile, the people who jammed the damn printer in the first place have begun the wailing and gnashing of teeth…which didn't last long, mind you, as their wills had long since been broken upon the Wheel of the Board Book.

I crawled back to my desk and sent an all staff email explaining the printer was jammed and that I'd try to schedule a repair in the morning. Not that it'll be FIXED by tomorrow, mind, just that we'd TRY fixing it in the morning; because we office-managing sorts like to cover our asses with semantics.

Boss!Man was desperate. So desperate, he climbed on top of the table, and turned the printer onto its side so we could have a better look at the paper feeder on the bottom. No easy feat, as the printer is HUGE and QUITE the beast to move.

I begged him to be careful…about not breaking the table or the printer. Eh. Office priorities.

There before our eyes were the paper rollers that pick up the paper from the trays, and STILL, there is no paper in them to be seen. Boss!Man returned to his desk defeated—


I held my breath, not daring to hope it was more than a trick of the eye. And with a pair of needle nose pliers, I poked it.

And THIS is when you send an Archaeologist to do an IT Technician's job. Because there it was. So small. So tucked away behind a roller.

The paper that caused the paper jam.

The Foe, defeated.

I shit you not, this paper was fucking TINY, about the size of my thumb to the first knuckle. I had trouble getting it out even, because to get to it required some creative hand movements, and in the end it was Boss!Man who pulled it out because he's more dexterous with a pair of pliers.*****

Holding the vanquished foe aloft, I proceeded from office to office, showing one and all its crumpled remains. I then taped it to my geek wall.

6/14. Never Forget.

And went forth...
Nella!--Conqueror of Print-onia!
Nella! Vanquisher of Paper-ite!


...We have to make our own fun at Life's little Madnesses, after all.

*a sure sign of madness.
**I NEVER see the 3D images, no matter how hard I try. I think they are all one big cruel joke against me that everyone else in this world is in on.

***For those of you who read my blog and are in the Know, my beloved Boss!Lady left my workplace. New Boss!Man was hired to replace her, and he's been a suitable stand-in so far.
****More often than you think.
*****the first person who makes some sort of "I bet he is" sort of comment will be Properly Glowered At.
infinityshark: Skyrider (Skyrider)

From: [personal profile] infinityshark

I feel your pain. Next to the constant threat of people wanting to shoot at us, paper jams caused by tiny specs of dead tree was our greatest foe in the Navy.
sparkly_stuff: (Default)

From: [personal profile] sparkly_stuff

AH HAHAHAHA Is it sad that from my own Office Printer experience, I was only a few paragraphs in before I said to myself, "I bet it's going to turn out to be this tiny fucking sliver of a piece of paper stuck deep inside. THOSE ARE THE WORST." I knew it!

Well done on beating the Kobayashi Maru of Printer Scenarios. \O/
puckling: (Quake with fear you tiny fools!)

From: [personal profile] puckling

I NEVER see the 3D images, no matter how hard I try. I think they are all one big cruel joke against me that everyone else in this world is in on.

OH MY GOD ME TOO. -_- I hate them all.

From: [identity profile] musinginquisitor.blogspot.com

Nice to see it's not only at my work place that things go awry about half an hour till you're off duty. (and why is it ALWAYS fridays?)

It would also appear that the same gnomes and/or grimlings that live at the hospital I work at take the occational outsourcing to the states XD
havn't tried that trick with printer, But once had a ice machine that blew the fuses and it took me and a cooling specialist the better part of a day taking it apart until we discovered that water, less than a teaspoons worth had soaked into a junction box in the machine and would if the stars were right and the wind came from the south, cause a short circute.
oh the gods of maintanence have a crude sense of humor.

oh and not to forget; I bet he is ;3 *nudge nudge wink wink*

From: (Anonymous)

Dontcha love jammin tooo!!

Prior to my being made redundant due to Economic Crisis here in Merrye Englande, I was an Architect and we used those photocopier/printer combo machines. One was placed right by my desk and would frequently jam up, I being the nearest lackey would constantly be nominated to get the damn thing working again.

The main problem was it would tell you where the offending millimetre speck of paper was and how to remove it, but when you went to retrieve, pluck and adopt a heroic pose with paper aloft you'll find the machine had LIED to you and it was in fact somewhere else!!

Many a night was spent, percussive maintenance was applied and battles of man versus machine to get that suite of A3 drawings out before 8:30pm could be witnessed, plus lashings of foul language could be heard.

I'm relieved to see that it indeed a worldwide struggle to get your little bit of work out of some infernal machine, I bet U.N.C.L.E never had this problem!!

From: (Anonymous)


So funny to read. I love your post. Enjoyable and funny to read. I almost wished I could work with yo there just to see you battle the paper of Print-onia.

Wonderfully written, have fun with the Board Meeting Day. ^_^

From: (Anonymous)

Oh god. I can sympathize because I have had to unjam this monstrosity: http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a238/Kaorugirl/pictures/P1000009.jpg
The one on the right. The paper comes out of those black boxes which go behind those little door things and then up out the pointy out bit on the right. Removing jammed paper usually means disassembling half the machine and requires screwdrivers.

I had the same feeling of triumph every time I defeated it.