Friday, February 24, 2012

In Praise of the Copier

So at work I have access to this amazing device. It's nothing short of extraordinary, I assure you. What does it do, you ask? Well let's say you have a brilliant essay you want to share with someone but you need it for yourself also. Clearly you need a copy. What do you do? Are you going to copy it by hand? Are you going to have the type set in metal in a printing press? Surely not. Well that's where this machine comes in. You put your document in the top and it spits out an identical copy in about five seconds. Really! I kid you not. In fact that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I can put in a pile of documents and get as many copies as I want. I can put in a pile of papers with writing on only one side and it'll copy them back to back and use half the paper. It'll even staple it! That's right, I can put 50 single-sided documents in and in about 30 seconds I'll have the same document, stapled, in 25 two-sided pages. I can make the page darker or lighter or bigger or smaller and any combination thereof. It will collate them any way I want so I can get all my 1st pages grouped together and my second pages grouped together and so forth, or it can print the document sequentially. It works with letter-sized, legal-sized, thick, thin, and any color of course. It even has separate drawers for different types of paper so I don't have to be bothered swapping.

Now surely you must be thinking that this incredible device carries a princely price tag, that only the wealthy can afford such speedy and accommodating copying. Nope. It costs but a few thousand dollars for the machine and a few pennies per page in supplies. If that sounds pricey ask yourself: how else are you going to get fifty copies of something? Try making one copy of that fifty page paper. Aside from doing it yourself your choices are a room of monks or one of these.

You don't want the machine, you say, but just the copies? Well I have good news for you because at office supply stores they have these very same machines. The store buys the machine and pays for paper, ink, and maintenance. You walk in and make your copies at five cents a page and you walk out. Some stores will even make the copies for you if you can believe that.

Now I would be remiss if I left out one crucial piece of information: these machines are fun to use. Trust me, trust me they are. You place your sheet or sheets in the tray at the top and slide the little guide rails into place. How perfectly shaped they are to hold the paper! Then you get to finger at this svelte, colorful touch screen for a while. Just poke at what you want. Back and front? Yep. Bloop! Stapled? Please. Bloop! Quantity? 25. Bloop! Bloop! Finally, Go! No sooner have you clicked than a thousand unique parts whirr into motion. You hear the fans humming, the drum spinning, and the stapler clanking. A symphony of specialization has begun to make you your copies, and you're conducting. That's why using a copier is such a satisfying experience, because it does precisely what you want. How great is that?

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