I create dozens of letters. With the phone lines quiet, I start generating envelopes. I type in an address, hit Print, and wait for the printer to whirr. I place an envelope into the feed tray and watch it disappear inside the machine only to emerge above, warmed by process and marked with ink.
The printer devours five envelopes, then it stops working; it begins inking paper instead. My computer beeps. I right-click on Printer Status Display.
I clear the queue. I hit Print. No whirr. No feed. More beeping.
I pull the paper out from the paper tray and check for jams. I open the back flap and check for jams. Both are clear. I unplug and re-plug the printer. Nada. My computer beeps.
I sigh and cup my hand over the printer lights. I see one green light flash. I submit and review the cords, all of them. To do this, I walk around my desk and crouch to my hands and knees. I trace the cords from port to port. An unknown vintage of dust coats my arms and hands. My eye’s silicone oil keeps distorting my view; I pause and look up and down, then continue. I secure all cords.
I go back to the printer lights. I see one green light flash. I wait. I see one orange error light flash. Ah-ha! I move to my computer to google HP Laser Jet 1200 – manual. I spot a PDF file. I select it, scanning for Troubleshooting with ease thanks to my magnification software. I scroll to the section and read about Light Display Errors.
There’s my error light sequence: Paper Jam.
I’m having a PC Load Letter moment now. I’m tempted to take my machine out to the street corner and meet baseball bat to plastic. I take a breath. I follow the instructions, blinking and resetting my eye oil. After I inspect the areas I checked previously, the manual tells me to examine below the printer toner cartridge. Below? Ok.
I open the flap, removing the cartridge with care. The manual says something about toner stains clothing, and we all know I won’t see if I get toner on my outfit. I fish my hand into the space, and feel…one crumpled page. I gingerly pull it out, as it resists me like a stubborn child. I persist. A mangled printer test is barely readable on the wrinkled page.
I toss it into the trash. I slide the toner cartridge back in, I snap the flap shut, and reset the Power button. The printer grumbles, hungry to consume a non-existent envelope. I scramble to find one. I feed it to the printer, watching until it appears up top.