Oh photocopier, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love that you’re dead and, more than that, I love that it was I who dealt the fatal blow. I love that you sit silently where once you eagerly whirred and buzzed and hissed. I love that that you skulk in darkness where once you stood proudly at the forefront of the administrational facilities, a captain amongst the drones, a leader amongst the machines. I love the way people skirt around you, as if you are infectious, as if your rotting insides repel them. But most of all, I love sitting across from you, eating my lunch and reading the sign that they have surreptitiously slapped upon your person again and again and again. Is it humiliating photocopier? Is it distressing for you my dear, dear friend? To be forced to brandish a sign that declares you, let me shout the words, “out of order?”
I would feel pity for you, but the thing is photocopier, you were. You were out of order. I have been a victim of office equipment ever since I can remember. I’ll never really know what first attracted them to me. Perhaps it was my uncertainty. Perhaps it was my sheer horror at even being allowed into an office environment at all. Perhaps they thrive on the sweat they absorb from a nervous intern’s clammy hands. All I know for certain is that there seemed to be some kind of competition going on between the printer and the photocopier as to which one could drive me to suicide first.
In many ways I wonder how much this blatant hate campaign against my person has impacted upon my career prospects. Countless trip after trip to the photocopier resulted in me creeping back to colleagues empty handed and shaking; the apologetic smile upon my face slowly sliding into a silent scream. “I’m offline!” the printer would sneer at me.
“I’m out of paper!” the photocopier shrieked.
“But I just put paper in you!”I wept.
“Oh I’m also out of ink fyi!” the printer would then pipe up.
“Is it my blood, shall I fill your cartridges with my own blood? Would you work then?” I would cry hysterically before fleeing from the room.
They soon pushed me out of the office environment altogether, and for a while I thought I was safe. And yet, in my limbo-like existence between jobs, I still sometimes got the feeling I was being watched. The shadow of something large and ungainly would sometimes lurk up behind me as I was crossing the road or wandering the moors of Dagenham…but then I would turn around, and there would be nothing, only the urgent squeaking of wheels as the photocopier stole away back to the office. Of course being stalked came as no surprise to me. After all, I had a printer stationed in my very own house in prime position to exchange information about me to its administrational allies. It was therefore imperative that I never went near, let alone used, the treacherous contraption.
I was not safe for long. Our reunion was inevitable. After some time apart, I approached the photocopier optimistically and yet I see now how naive I was to think things had changed. Two days into my new job the photocopier succeeded in making me look a fool. It ate the work sheet I was supposed to be copying. Now I don’t know how it did it, I don’t know why it did it but I know that’s definitely what happened. That lunch time, I tried to resolve the situation. “Listen photocopier…”I stuttered. The photocopier did not respond.
“I know we’ve had our differences…” I attempted.
The photocopier did not respond.
“PHOTOCOPIER” I shouted at the top of my voice.
The photocopier did not respond.
I don’t really remember what happened next, but eight hours later I awoke, panting, and covered in ink.
When the man comes to fix the photocopier, things will be different around here. I haven’t heard a peep of protest out of the printer ever since the incident. That’s right office equipment, I am a photocopier murderer. Who knows where I shall strike next? The scanner looks pretty fragile. Those printers are so old it probably wouldn’t even look suspicious. From now on my dears you better behave because now I’m the one who is out of order.