Saturday, October 16, 2021


By Monte Lazarus

It was pitiful. She sat in the corner wheezing, coughing and sputtering. At 250 or so pounds she was also very overweight. And she was very old. My wife and I consulted in a dark room where we could not be overheard. She said, “I know how much you have loved her, but it’s time. She’s worn out; has no quality of life; and the younger ones are passing her by.” I sobbed softly and murmured, “Yes, but it’s so difficult after all these years”.

We tried hard to find a decent place for her. We even contacted Antiques Roadshow, but they had no interest. Finally, we decided to do the right and decent thing. We’d take her – our ancient HP color printer – to the genocide plant where she would be stripped, cleaned and reincarnated painlessly into, perhaps, an iPad 67 or some other shapely new thing. Meanwhile, she’d have good company with old paint cans, floppy disk computers and dead doornails (I never did figure out what they are).

The problem was that she was so big – about the size of a WW II concrete pillbox – that I would have had a miserable time lifting her, particularly since I had a bunch of fresh stitches in my arm. The mere thought of bleeding all over my old friend was distressing. Then, once again, my wife came up with the Right Answer. “I’ll call ‘John’ [name changed to protect the innocent]. He’s big and strong, and his son is a football player. Between them they’ll get her down to their truck, and we don’t even have to watch.” Imitating my British friends I used the catchall “Brilliant!”

With that we swung into action. My wife immediately called “John” and he accepted with alacrity, as well as volunteering his son. I figured with “John”, together with his son and that mysterious alacrity, it would be a cinch. However, there was still one problem. Madame HP was lodged in a spot in which it was difficult to maneuver, and I had to figure out how to get her out. Machismo saved me. “No problemo,” I blurted. “I’ll get her out to the front door.” My wife knew better, but feigned deafness. She was, and is, used to my misadventures. But, as usual, I knew better. After all, I’m the Alpha Male!

I swung into action. Sadly I pulled the plug on Ole HP and gently wiggled her around. I realized that I could never simply carry her all the way to the front door. But, I didn’t have all my fancy education for nothing…I devised a plan to get her onto my swivel chair and roll her to the front door. “Simple and ingenious,” I smirked to myself as I imaginatively patted myself on my back. It worked, at least up to that point. I got her to the chair, made her comfortable, and started the long voyage to the door.

Disaster! My chair bumped over a place where the tile met the grout and it was simply too much for the chair and HP. She fell, but that was only the beginning. In my burst of ingenuity I neglected to remove her color cartridges. They exploded in a huge blue cloud. I was engulfed; the white tile floor was blue; chairs were blue; everything was blue. Fortunately my nimble brain was still working. “We’ll just buy a Dustbuster”, I told my slightly blue wife (she had sensibly stayed back from my chair). Off we went and came back with a brand new Dustbuster to solve the Case of the Blue Fog. Wrong! The powder in the cartridges was too fine, and not only went barreling through the Dustbuster leaving a blue contrail, it also polluted the Dustbuster.

My very patient wife started scrubbing as I washed the Dustbuster and apologized to anyone in range for my massive errors. After an hour or so the place was almost clean. When “John” and his son arrived everything was in order. HP was at the door. I had removed the cartridges thereby lightening the load. My chair was clean and back at the desk. “John’s” son proved to be wise, as well as an excellent football player. He cheerfully held the door open as his Dad struggled down the long flight of stairs to their truck. Smart kid.

EPILOGUE: Since this episode my hair turned a bit blue. Worse, every time I sneeze, my handkerchief also turns blue. I hate to think about what’s going on in my sinus cavity.

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