Bygone blog: Goodbye, old friends

5 Sep

This is the fifth in my series of Bygone Blogs, in which I am re-posting some of my favorite blogs from the last 8 years. This one was originally published on December 16, 2011.

I chose this blog especially for today, the first day of the new school year here in Webster. As I begin my second year at the libraries of Schlegel Road and Plank Road North elementary schools, I still remember fondly my time at Thomas High School and all the friends I made there.

Including the copiers.  


Wednesday was a bittersweet day at work. We said goodbye to our two big, old copiers (which we affectionately called “Copier A” and “Copier B”) and welcomed two big, brand new ones.

For most of the staff at Webster Thomas, it was a happy occasion. After five years of heavy use, the old gals were really beginning to show their age. Jams were becoming more common. Parts were wearing out on a regular basis. People were beginning to think the Xerox repairman was on staff. No one shed a tear when they heard the copiers were being replaced.

But they never knew Copiers A and B like I did. For them, they were just convenient tools, meant to serve them and facilitate their administrative and teaching needs. As long as they were running smoothly, everything was sweetness and light. But jam up even for a minute and things turned nasty. Really fast.

I understand, though. Like most good things we have in life, the teachers didn’t really notice or appreciate Copiers A and B unless something went wrong, which was easily less than ten percent of the time. They didn’t work next door to them for five years like I had. They hadn’t rooted around inside with eight-inch tweezers and a miniature flashlight, searching for the smallest scraps of paper jammed in the deepest corners. They couldn’t tell just by listening that the copiers weren’t feeling well.

Yes, I was kind of attached to Copier A and Copier B.

So, to properly express my feelings and make sure our old friends got the respect they deserved in their final days, when I sent an email to the staff announcing the new copiers’ pending arrival, I added this footnote:

Please consider throwing some kind words at Copiers A and B when you’re in the copy room today. Despite their occasional PMS and old-age moments, they have been real workhorses and have served us well. If you’re a building veteran, you’ll remember the clunkers we had before our friends A and B came along. These were a huge improvement and they have earned the right to depart the Thomas family with dignity.

I might cry. Don’t watch.

To their credit, my peers understood and were very sympathetic. They sent condolence emails. One wondered, “Should we give them a proper going away party? What does one give the copier that has everything? It’s not like they need another drawer, and staples don’t always agree with them.” I received an email condolence card featuring blooming magnolias, in which my friend wrote, “As the flowers signify a new beginning, thus your fondness for your new copiers will develop over time. Sorry for the loss!”

But the best of the best was when my friend Leslie beckoned me into the copy room, taped two hand-colored paper roses on the copiers, took my hand and conducted a short memorial service. It was all I could do to not cry. Because I was laughing so hard.

We left the roses on the copiers until they were hauled away, and several teachers took the opportunity to scribble some kind notes.


Hmm. Maybe they appreciated our old friends “A” and “B” more than I realized.

* * *

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