The Printer Whisperer

23326740i_01 We all have skills, hidden talents that rise to the surface at the right time, like Harry Potter realizing that he was naturally good at Quidditch.

When we learn about those innate skills, it’s like we realize that we’ve known a second language all of our lives but didn’t have a chance to use it. Then one day you’re walking along, minding our own business, and someone needs help with their sink or their hamster or their cornrows. And you realize then that you have a special ability.

Hi, I’m Jamey, and I’m the Printer Whisperer.

Every office has someone who by default takes care of the random tech needs that arise from day to day. Low-level stuff–the kind of stuff that IT will mock you for if you call them in.

I’m not saying I’m the best at fixing random office technology. I’m sure there are many out there who are far more savvy then me. But when it comes to printers, I can speak to them. I can feel them. The printer and I are one.

I’m not kidding when I say that I can put my ear to a printer to take its pulse, to listen to its aches and pains, its needs and wants. I let the printer know that I am no different than it. I’m nothing but a complex machine who wants a few simple things out of life. I get the printer, and the printer gets me.

If a printer is hurting, I’m almost always able to figure out that one spot where it needs to be touched and caressed back to life. You have to feel that vibration, that hum of life churning inside of it, wanting to be released. Sometimes you have to probe deep inside to find that one little scraggle of paper, but it’s worth it. That, my friends, is where you find a true connection.

What is your hidden talent, the secret language you speak with an appliance, animal, or mechanism?

5 thoughts on “The Printer Whisperer”

  1. Copiers and now printers for me. When I was teaching 1st grade at a now shuttered South St. Louis school, it got to a point that the copier fix-it man would ask the school secretary if I had looked at it. If I had and it still didnt work then he would come. This thanks to the many times he was called but I had it fixed by the time he arrived. Oops.

  2. I am the opposite of you (in a lot of things, it seems!) – I just have to walk NEAR technology like printers or copiers and they stop working! But I do have an amazing ability to be present when animals do weird things. Like they wait for me to be there and then do something strange that no one believes I saw. One time I saw a HUGE turkey, like, four feet tall, walking down the grassy part of a major city street. There were plenty of other people there, but I seemed to be the only one who slowed down and actually saw the turkey talking a walk down the street. I also was alone when a mommy raccoon and 5 babies were casually eating dinner in the middle of the street, and I stopped to shoo them away, and they all just stared at me like I was crazy. I was about a foot away from this raccoon family, and they were looking at me like “You want us to leave? Why?” and they weren’t moving! I had to start flapping around and shouting before they got out of the road. And this is my last one, it’s another raccoon event. My friend’s sliding glass door goes out to a patio in his backyard and there was a raccoon out there at night, so naturally, I was laying on the floor watching him. He came up to the glass and I put my hand up, and he put his little hand up “against” mine and we had a moment. Then I tried to open the door to pet him and my friend said “remember Buddy the Elf, remember Buddy the Elf”, so I didn’t pet him. But I am PRETTY sure he would have let me if I wasn’t stopped.

  3. My hidden talents are strictly anthrocentric, however my father has this amazing ability to repair things by breaking them. Our washing machine broke – it wouldn’t agitate, so our clothes would be a soapy, soppy mess and just sit there for an hour until it would cheerfully *ding* to let us know that we’d have to go commando today. So he took it apart until it was a bunch of pieces on the floor, then muttered something about “wish I’d written down where everything was in the first place”, took another two hours to put it back together, and lo and behold it worked!

  4. At my last job, I was the master of one of our proprietary database system. They rolled it out about a month after I’d started, so it was easy for me to learn because I didn’t confuse it with the older system that so many knew already inside and out. If someone ever had trouble find a record, they’d head my way, both scared and in awe of what they knew would happen next.

    “Katie, I need some help finding this record,” they’d say.

    I’d slowly swivel around in my office chair, eyes narrowed. “What’s the ticket number?” I’d ask.


    “216,” I’d finish for them.

    “But — how did you know what when I hadn’t even—“

    “Shhhhhh,” I’d say, putting my finger to their lips. “There are some things that just can’t be explained.”

    And then, with a flurry of typing, the information would appear on my screen, almost as if out of thin air.

    “That’s impossible. I looked it up three different times and couldn’t find it! Jeff even tried putting it in over and over, but he never got anywhere.”

    “That’s what she said,” I’d reply.

    And then, like a ghost, I was gone, leaving them to wonder if it was all just a dream. Then they’d see the glow emanating from the computer screen, the record eerily awaiting them and confirming the existence of the incredible moment they’d just witnessed.


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