Acclimating into the cordial office environment has been quite easy, but there’s a giant elephant in the room.
Well it’s about the size of an elephant. It weighs a couple tons and makes animalistic noises. I’m talking about the copy machine. Every office has one, and they’re rather hard to tame.
I would hardly classify myself as technologically-challenged, but the copy machine makes me very uneasy. It’s extremely complex. It functions as the office’s essential organ, serving as the scanner/printer/copier/fax all in one. It can reverse pages, staple, sort and stack in any combination you desire. It can translate 47 different languages. I do know that it’s unable to read minds, however, or else I wouldn’t goof it up so much.
At first, I thought perhaps my apprehension stemmed from the fear of breaking the expensive machine (in which case I’d probably be back as an intern for many summers to come, paying off my debt). But in true, American fashion, I think I’ll blame it on a traumatic childhood experience that I completely forgot about until now:
It was many years ago. I was probably in the 4th grade or so, which would make my little sister a first-grader. We were with our dad, who had to swing by his office and finish up some work. We got the typical speech: “be respectful and quiet,” “this is an office environment, people are working.” I’m sure it ended in a bribe—perhaps a promise of ice cream for good behavior. We were confined to the company workroom where we were to wait quietly.
Playing with the post-it notes and rubber bands were fun at first, but boredom quickly set in. The copy machine in the corner looked more and more inviting with every passing moment. Even though Dad never explicitly said it was off-limits, it looked like something we shouldn’t touch. But since when has wise thinking ever been my strength?
Inspired by a recent tv commercial, my sister and I began copying various items we found around the workroom. We started with scraps of paper from the recycle bin, then moved to various office supply objects, and eventually came up with the genius idea to copy our own faces. I was first.
So as I situated my face down on the glass, my sister closed the lid as far as it would go and pressed COPY.
I forgot to mention that in 4th grade I had beautiful long, flowing hair… the ends of which were sucked into the powerful copy machine, yanking my head helplessly down to the feeder tray. I was stuck. And in the end, my sister had to run and get my dad, who then freed me only after cutting my hair with scissors. Needless to say, we forfeited the “good behavior” bribe.
Amid all his anger, I think the hardest thing for my dad was trying not to laugh. And I’m sure employees were confused as to why there were hair clippings in the annual report.
So as a wisdom-seeking intern, I’ve decided not only to reflect on the present, but also on the past. There’s something to be learned from every situation, and now I know to pin back any loose strands before confronting the copier. As for my apprehension, I suppose comfort comes with practice, so I better get my little tushy back to my copy work.
Lessons Learned: Never let traumatic past experiences hinder the present. Never bring your sister to work.
Reflections: I hope I never break this copier or else this post is really unfunny.