Thursday, September 12, 2013

Printer Based Marital Problems

For years now my wife has held a personal grudge against me. Sure we love each other and get along much like any other couple in our circumstance, but like other marriages there are small things that crop up from time to time that exist merely to erode relations in an otherwise blissful existence. For us that would be the family printer. Oh how I loathe the thought of someone in my household having to use the printer.

Now despite the fact that I work in the tech industry and make good money, I bought my home at the height of the real estate bubble, have two kids in college, and three cars. So this basically equates to me being broke ALL of the time, and having to exist on the trailing end of the tech curve as far as home electronics and appliances are concerned. This affords me many “opportunities” to fix/maintain equipment that has been falling apart for years.

So sometime back in the mid-90’s some ass hat in the printer industry decided to start milking the consumer for cash, by manufacturing cheap printers that they could basically GIVE away that use expensive ink cartridges that needed to be changed every 5 minutes, or so it would seem.

Because of this, I simply refused to buy a printer for the longest time, and attempted to survive using an old reliable dot matrix printer. GOD! HOW I MISS USING THAT PRINTER! I would literally print books for pennies on the dollar. Printer ribbon and tractor feed paper flowed like water down the mighty Mississippi river! All was well with the Universe. That is until I started moving around and got rid of said printer.

It was like leaving a beautiful relationship. The wide eyed gravy days of my youth were now behind me. I made strange bedfellows of a cavalcade of cheap floozy printers seductively priced and enticing me with a sweet siren song of unheard of DPI. How could I resist, I was naive, alone, and print-less in a rapidly changing world of lithography. It was this experience that would ultimately lead to my current distaste for printers on the market.

Time marches on and lives change. Marriage, kids, gray hair, and sobriety settle in. If you’re in your mid-thirties or older, you know the routine. With kids in school, insurance policies, and family photographs, I had to overcome my hatred of modern printers and just dive into a purchase.

I have now lived with my wife for eleven years, and in that time I can count the amount of printers we have had on one hand. The amount of money spent on keeping ink in these things however seemed larger than the national debt (NOTE: Outstanding Public Debt as of 12 Sep 2013 at 11:55:13 AM GMT is :$16,741,636,224,312.04). So as a result I used to milk the ink cartridges for every last drop. This leads to my wife’s resentment of me.

My wife has never been afraid to dive, head first into paperwork. She forages ahead with a momentum that has always impressed me. I am quite the opposite, reserved, and move cautiously forward only when opportunity presents itself. My world is very much planned with seldom little change. This ultimately equates to me seldom printing anything that is not at the office while she prints whenever the opportunity arises for her. This oddly happens a lot when the printer is not functioning properly.

Because of the situation in my household and finances, I currently have a multi function Epson printer that is a fax machine, scanner, and printer. It is not networked; rather a USB interface is used. It is situated on my desk in a family room/basement so all can use it when they need it.

Now, my wife’s grudge against me. For whatever reason on this Earth, the printer never seems to function properly whenever she wishes to use it.

The first wave of problems encountered by her was that none of the computers in the house with the exception of the one I take to work every day had the printer driver on it. We will call this level one of resentment. This causes a downward pointing of her eyebrows towards her nose, a nasal enunciation of a bitter “HMPH”, and a trip to my parent’s house to print an important document out. Luckily my folks gave us beer so my ass was safe for the moment.

The second wave of problems came in the form of no ink in the printer. Because the printer industry has an iron grip on the consumer’s wallet, when one of my ink cartridges is getting too low it stops ALL printing. Again important documents hung in the balance. This is level two of resentment, in addition to all the elements of level one, there were looks of disgust that basically said “YOU are not maintaining these things the way you should.” Nothing needed to be said so there was a sort of heavy silence in the air. That of course was broken when we went to staples to get ink cartridges and I had no money. The act of her having to pay for the cartridges and then having to wait while I cleaned and charged the print heads solidified a very cold night that evening. Instead of cheerful talk that couples in love engage in, there were rather bland consumer report types of drooling that accented the ineptitude of my printer buying abilities.

To combat level two resentment, I decided to work proactively and take matters into my own hands. SCREW THE PRINTER INDUSTRY! Who the hell do they think they are soaking us for every last dime just so we can print out a permission slip, or a photograph of grandma slamming back hard liquor. THIS ENDS NOW! I managed to find a kit for my printer that included special, refillable cartridges that constantly tell the printer that it is full, with ink and syringes to fill things up nicely. I installed everything and printed merrily. I learned that it was once more possible to print for pennies on the dollar, and my marriage was now safe. My wife would no longer look down upon me as a man beaten down by a sadistically money hungry printer industry. I can now stand proud as a man who can print anything at anytime he wanted!

Or so I thought.

This morning the phone rang, and it was my wife. Apparently, because the modified printer cartridges constantly tell the printer that it is full, it simply does not know when it is empty. So this morning blank pages start to print. One of the girls needed to print something for school and nothing was being printed. I could tell there was an added strain in my wife’s voice that indeed let me know that we have entered stage three of resentment.

God have mercy on my soul.

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