The Office

If you're new to this story, it might make more sense if you read these first:
Something fishy 
Work work work work work
If I were any happier, I'd need medication
Weird out

Yesterday, I decided to pretend I work in a Toyota factory, where we’re all about teamwork, and if I have a problem, I go directly to management, who fixes things right away.

I was trying to print stuff out in color because it was a bunch of maps that really need color to be useful. As usual, the computer took 10 minutes to send the stuff, and then 15 minutes after that, I started getting the vague error message, “Failed to print”, but it pops up 15 times, because that’s how many things I’d sent, interrupting everything else I was trying to do. So I walk over to the printer, and notice it’s turned off. I move to turn it on, and someone stops me, oh no. Don’t touch that.

But it’s the only color printer in the building.


I go to my boss in the Toyota factory. “S., production has stopped. We need a color printer, right away.”

“Betsy, I’m going to forward you an e-mail from Mr. Tree Planter. Could you draft a response for me please?”

“I think I got that e-mail already.”

“No, it’s only to me.”

“I was bcc’d.”

“Really? That’s weird. Are you sure it’s the same one?”

“I think so. The one where he mis-spelled “potpourri?”

“Out of that whole 3,000 word disturbing diatribe, what you take from it is that one misspelling?

“S., come on. 'Popery?' Who would do that? This is the guy who’s calling me average, I’d like to point out.”

“I see your point.”

My other point is one that you might be wondering about: why does the word potpourri even come up in an e-mail that’s about the restraining order he’s gotten on his neighbor, and the fact that County staff aren’t qualified medical professionals but suspect mental illness, and the disturbing red string that’s been tied around some of the trees, and so on. Yes, exactly.

The word “speedo” also comes up in this story, because the woman who the restraining order was about (would she be the “restrainee?”) came in to see me last week bringing dozens of 8 x 10 glossy photographs of All Things Nature, including a hawks soaring, salmon swimming, and her neighbor in a speedo and boots holding a canister of what one would assume is some sort of herbicide. Let me just say for once and for all, no one wants to see anyone in a speedo.

"How about that printer, S.?"

He laughs. "Yeah, I'll get right on that."

Anyway, leaving shortly to meet those people again today. I do hope there are no speedos involved.


  1. Fact Check: There are at least 7 color printers in the building. On the day in question the 2 that are capable of printing 11x17 size paper were both down. They have subsequently both been repaired. Just saying...

  2. Oh, yes, you would know that, but how it goes down for me is like this:
    Me: Are there any other color printers I could use?
    EH: No.
    Me, walks back to desk and writes to "help" desk, "are there any other color printers I could use?"
    Help Desk, some time later: toucan

    I assume 'toucan' is the name of a color printer, but I don't want to disturb those busy people by asking where it is, and whether it can print 11 x 17, and so on, because those guys are IMPORTANT. And BUSY. And spend all day on FB I mean busting their butts for The Man. That would be like me stopping one part of the assembly line for another one, if you know what I mean.

  3. I know this is really far past a timely response. I hope that you read this. But I can't resist telling you that the printer is actually named Toucan Sam, after the cereal mascot, but S. has at times believed it to be Tuscan Sam. Which I think about often, and it always makes me smile.


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