Friday, October 23, 2009

Smashing the Printer

Had had enough of this printer. All it caused me was grief.

I'd stay up late working on an essay assignment for my advanced composition class, go to bed wrapped in the warm satisfaction of creative accomplishment. Wake up happy that all I had to do was print the puppy out.

But unless the printer happened to turn on properly, sans blinking green light, and I fed the paper into the receptacle at exactly the right moment, listening intently to its internal workings like a new mother listens to her baby's breathing, and unless the stars were so aligned that God and all his angels were on my side, something would go wrong. It would eat the paper too early, choke on it and spit it out.

I'd try to stay calm but after three or four failed attempts, I'd lose it. I'd cry, scream, curse Best Buy to rot in the filthy flames of hell, and, after I knew the fight was lost, I'd usually try once more, this time with a calm sweet prayer. Dear God. Just please be with me. The printer would bleep and hoot and choke and seethe and I would flee the house in a hot tear-stained rage.

Until the warm June night that I walked the hated appliance over to the steps of the museum downtown. My boyfriend (bless his soul for the idea) monitored pedestrian activity while I readied my aim. When he gave me the all clear, I hurled the ugly plastic beast down onto the concrete. External hardware and little plastic gadgets popped off. Feverishly, I retrieved it, threw it again. And then again. Each time, more noise, more plastic debris, more satisfaction. The eighth toss yielded the total destruction of the motherboard, her shiny metallic innards finally succumbing to the cold raw concrete. My ponytail falling out, my face a-flush, I galloped to the garbage can and tossed the many-splintered printer inside.

This story came to mind this week, as I waded through ankle-deep stress. Car troubles. Late paycheck. Loud neighbor and too-small duplex. Stubborn tick heads, restless sleep, painful mouth ulcers. Even the minutia seemed big: my tangled hair, papers to grade, Monday morning rain, squeaky bike brakes.

Life was just like that printer, a one-eyed monster mocking me, a piece of machinery that no longer runs well. But understanding my problem has yielded a solution. It's time to shakes things up, make some drastic changes, toss life's struggles from the balcony of my mind and watch them crack open. Time to smash the printer, again, and see what's inside.


  1. Your blog is a smashing success! I thoroughly enjoyed all three of these pieces. Perceptive, bright, super-articulate...just like you. Can't wait to see what you bust out with next...

    By the way, particularly loved your phrase: "many-splintered"!

  2. Fabulous. You're honesty is inspiring! Keep writing, blogging, etc, por favor!