The Copier Whisperer

Some people can make intricate artwork out of paperclips.

Others can to teach a semester long class, keeping the same dry erase marker.

Still others manage to store, file and utilize their filing cabinet all school year long without putting a file outside of alphabetical order. That one still amazes me.

But I am not without my corny talent.

I am a copier whisperer. In almost every position I have had, I have had this uncanny knack for unjamming, unplugging, re-toning, or just performing copier CPR. I really should have put this skill on my resume.

The college students in our office just look at me like I’ve sprouted wings and a halo. I won’t lie, it’s fun to be looked up to like that. Even if it’s just because of a weird talent I have.

A long time ago, one of our senior administrative assistants discovered my special talent. She would constantly battle with the copier to print out her copies. She swore the copier “was out to get her!” (accompanied with some dandy swear words that I hadn’t heard since my grandpa passed away!) I calmly walked over, started pressing levers, opening drawers, side rollers, etc. and managed to unjam it. This happened several times, and I just somehow became her copier hero. Yay! She would tell everyone in the office how wonderful I was, how I just had a knack for figuring out how to get the copier working again. So the people came unto me, and low, I helped them. Thus, the term “Copier Whisperer” was born.

The downside of this hero status is that one is called to attend to a jammed copier at any given moment. Even if Copier Whisperer happens to be in the middle of a project. Or, when moving to a new office, the Copier Whisperer will inevitably be placed in the office right next to the irritable machine. But really, how many times is a person looked upon with such admiration and delight after one has managed to whack the toner cartridge into a working shade of black?

It’s often said that we (baby boomers, gen x’ers, and such) are immigrants to the world of technology and our children are native born. Natural adapters. That may be true of computers. And mobile phones. But give them a jammed copier, and they are mystified. So my legend lives on.



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