Thursday, March 22, 2007

one year old and still copying up a storm

I want to update you on our pal, Biz. I may have already done this, but since he’s been with us for nearly a year now it is clearly time to sing Happy Birthday Biz, buddy. !! This passing of time brings Pre-Biz memories back to me. I recall when his predecessor was on his /her last wheel. Toshiba and I hadbonded. Yes, we had become close. Really close. I knew just what place to tap and where to whisper sweet nothings in order to get the print jobs done. I knew somewhere inside my soul that Toshiba’s time was up, but I just couldn’t admit it to my self.
Then, an opening came up in a retirement home for wayward copy machines, and we basically made arrangements to ship Toshiba out. The thing is, though, that the new resting place for Toshiba for some reason was delayed, and so Toshiba ended up hanging out in the hall for a few weeks. It made me sad in my heart because I felt like we were sending an old friend to the glue factory. Toshiba had been very good to the church, and had helped us through many copy projects during his/her tenure. I mean, think about it. You work hard, give your best years to the workplace, and then BAP, BaAm, you are thrown out with the trash. Sad, sad in my heart I tell you.
Then to add insult to injury, here comes the new whipper snapper guy; Biz. Shiny, reeking of a strong imported plastic cologne. Fit as a fiddle, bigger, better, or seemingly so. I really empathized with Toshiba the day we moved Biz in. Here was all this attention from suited tech geeks, giving all their time and energy to the “new guy” and where is the one who had helped us through countless funerals ? and where was the one who had given the best years of his life to insure weddings were announced in clear and crisp bulletins? Newsletters, preschool color ing sheets, financial reports? Toshiba had made all that happen and now, he sits in the hallway wearing a look that says, “ Geesh, You work your toner off and look what happens, the newbie wins out. Life isn’t fair for electronics either, sometimes.”
Meanwhile, life seemed to just keep going on within the busy church as if nothing was different. The events ebbed and flowed, mostly flowed. People came and went. Other props and equipment transitioned from usefulness to retirement. Enter Christmas lights.
We used web type Christmas lights over the bushes for a particular season, and for some reason, they bonded with the bushes and were never removed and then were forgotten. Periodically at staff meeting, the issue would come up of – Are they still there? Or, When are the lights going to be taken off the bushes? Still, they stayed. Eventually, we began to notice that the bushes lining the sidewalk were looking a little scraggly. A couple of members noticed, too. My best buddy, E and I went out to take a look and immediately realized that the landscapers were not going to trim the bushes until the lights were removed, so we proceeded to pull them off and out of the jaws of the growing bushes. It was like playing tug of war. The bushes tightened their grip when we pulled against them. In the end, we managed to collect most of the lights in tact, leaving most of the bushes tired and ready for a haircut.
The next problem was what to do with them. My office is already wearing all the small white lights it can handle, and most closets are already overflowing…. Hmmm. We carried the bundles of lights inside and as we passed through the “sad zone”, where the Toshiba was waiting to be picked up and taken to the glue factory, I stopped. E and I looked at each other. And a little flicker blinked between our brains. We covered the retired machine with lights and plugged them in. Immediately the lonely and rejected machine began to stand straighter. The bypass tray fell open , reaching out to us as if to say,” here, take my handshake with love and appreciation.” We left it there for several days and I noticed that many of the members and staff that had used it all those many years, changed their perspective. Instead of completely ignoring the cast- out machine, they began reminiscing over successful printing jobs from the past. The lights seemed to shift the energy and aura of the Toshiba.
A few days before the pick up van for The Retirement Home for Useless Copiers truck was due to arrive, a hallway miracle occurred. Right there in the Methodist church, I tell you no lie.
A member traipsed into the church, and trekked down the hall. The lights caught his eyes. He stopped. He looked. He wondered, “What in the H--?” but before he could say those words, a funny thing happened. He dropped his pen. It fell in between the lights and landed somewhere under the light bush with a plunk. It wasn’t until he reached in to retrieve his favorite gel writing utensil, that he realized the lights were covering the old copy machine. “ Hey? Does this thing still work?” he asked the air around him. The Toshiba trembled at the comment. The subtle movement created a lightslide and the lights fell to the ground , landing at the base of the copy machine. I think the lights and the machine had bonded during their time together. I don’t know how else to explain it. The lights lovingly laid down their illumination for this teddybear of a Toshiba.
The man rushed to the business administrator’s office and within minutes, the Toshiba was rolling proudly down the hall to the man’s van. Several of the staff and the front desk receptionist followed the twosome and stood at the doors of the church waving to our old friend and wishing him/her well. I’ve heard of foster programs for cats and dogs, but never copy machines. On the other hand, I can’t think of a better place for our old friend.
A few months later, I heard through the grapevine that the experience of foster parenting our old copy machine had worked out so well, that the man had started a second chance adoption agency for used machines.
Oh, the miracles of church work.

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