Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Copy Queen

My new sweet gig includes two chunks of time that were described as "Just help out where you might be needed". This translates to run copies. Lots of copies. Copies of everything. Back-to-back, collate, staple and deliver. 25 of this. 48 of these. 20 of these but only the last 10 need this extra page. It's an endless parade of post-its stuck to loose pages and book covers.

Contrary to how that sounds, running copies is no big deal to me. I get to look busy while actually doing nothing. Everyone in the building comes wandering though and I get to have short, but lovely conversations with them. There's a nice view out the window. No, running copies doesn't suck at all.

Unless the machines are acting wonky. Then it gets ugly. Monday was ugly.

A teacher needed 30 copies of set run off before the end of the day. I headed off to the room where the two main copiers keep court. The first one was blinking "Mishandled Paper". The one next to it was blinking the same thing. Time was short, so I shot off to the other machine on the other side of the building. "Mishandled Paper" blinked and blinked. Ugh!

Several years ago I asked an aide at to teach me how to unjam the machines since every school has the exact same model. "Jams are easy to fix," she explained as showed me the various doors and trays. "They just take patience. But if you ever have a little man with a sad face show up on this screen then the situation is really serious and we have to call in the service tech."

I rolled up my sleeves and started following the on screen instructions for fixing the jam. There was paper stuck in every crevasse and roller in there. Waded up, accordion folded and ripped in two. It was a disaster. But I prevailed and successfully ran the sets.

Since I already had inky fingertips, I decided to be the school hero and unjam the other two machines. Neither of them were in quite as bad shape. I should have just stayed and fixed one of them to begin with. Anyway, a few minutes later both were happily churning out work.

This morning I found an extremely agitated teacher in the copy room. "I can get ten or twelve pages to run and then it jams again. This is taking forever!" He pulled out a sheet of paper folded like origami from depths of the parts and slammed the doors of machine shut. As I was walking out I heard him yell, "What the hell is this little frowny guy?"


Nance said...

We've never gotten the frowny guy at my school, that I know of, but the constant Battle of the Copier is so disheartening. I detest it. Almost enough to want to bring back...THE DITTO MACHINE! (You're probably way too young to even remember purply handouts.)

J. said...

Nance: Sure I remember dittos. I remember what they smelled like when they were freshly made and still cold. You're not the first I've heard wishing there was a spare one around for when copier emergencies occur.

Nance said...

J.--Not sure if you're to blame for the jinx, but when I went to run copies yesterday, for the first time ever, the machine displayed A LITTLE FROWNY GUY WITH A BRIEFCASE.


I'm just sayin'.

J. said...

Nance: Let's go with me being a jinx. That is too much of a coincidence!

Weaver said...

DITTO MACHINES!!! so awesome! add in my 4th grade teacher who typed everything for her dittos and her O didn't type an O it cut it out so the page would be filled with little purple circles. so much fun was had counting the circles