People And Machines

When I started working at my current job we were on a different floor of the building to where I am situated now, known as “the dungeon” despite its altitude. It was an executive floor, very corporate and quiet and somewhat drab. This floor housed the CEO and other top brass and their armies of ultra-serious, driven assistants and helpers having constant heart palpitations over minor details.

It also hosted, for the rest of us minions, only one Xerox machine, to share between the entire corporate finance department and the little group of eleven or so people in my two teams, who were stranded on the “undesirable” side of the floor, so war was obviously slated to break out at any second over dibs.

This normally wouldn’t be a terrible hardship; The CEO’s army had their own machine which they guarded like a kidnapped child, so we didn’t have to compete with them, however, the communal copier was a problem of military proportions. We were the new kids on the block; a floor jammed full of veterans who’d been there since Noah docked the Ark. These fine folks were just thrilled to have more people use their precious Xerox and eat up their paper supplies. Delighted they were. OK, maybe furious was more like it. The machine was situated in their territory, at the end of a corridor in a tiny room/closet.

They would monitor our every move. How much paper we used, or toner. If a paperclip was out of place it was our fault. They would tell us off for copying decks with more than ten pages, they would sigh with frustration if they came in to copy an invoice to find one of us Xeroxing an expense report. It was enemy territory and we knew it.

One woman in particular was the main culprit. She was the Copier Nazi, a multi-chinned, scowling, older lady who was built like a brick shit house and had the personality of steel wool. “Do you work on this floor?” she would always yell, with a scowl that says “YOU BETTER!”.

She would literally ask me (and the rest of my team) this question every time we went near their side of the office. “Do you work on this floor? Because if not you cannot use our Xerox machine or be on this floor!”

“No!” I said one day. “I actually work on the ninth floor, I just came all the way up here because I like to touch your stuff!”

She worked at the opposite end of the corridor and she had ears like a wild cat. If you so much as touched the linoleum covered floor with a foam flip flop, she would hear and come charging down the corridor, like an angry bull in Pamplona, to make sure we weren’t doing anything amiss with her precious machine. Every day she’d question us; what were we copying, how long would we be, did we know that the machine belonged to her department and we shouldn’t really be using it at all because they were important and needed it much more, blah blah blah.

We learned to be super-sneaky, slipping in and out of there and closing the door so as not to alert the Copier Nazi to our whereabouts, thus risking the third degree. We would take a look-out with us to the copier and we had elaborate signals should she suddenly appear – things like shrieking, “Oh my God, she’s coming, run for the hills!”

To make matters worse I broke that copier. This is nothing new, I break machines daily. I broke it so badly they had to buy a new one. In my defense, it was old, rickety, and I only kicked it after it had swallowed most of my incredibly interesting Powerpoint presentation on Tampons, validating my actions since it started it.

I went to the only other copier on the floor which is closer, but guarded by even fiercer Copier Nazis – the Copier Nazis who work for the CEO! One must be really stealth when trying to evade the Executive Copier Nazis else they will chew you out like a five year old who’s been naughty, despite a very clear sign in there that states we can use their copier if the other copier is busted and none of the CEO’s army of administrative help are using it to copy their many schedules, party plans or suicide notes. Since I’d newly busted the other machine, I felt I was entitled to work in the lion’s den.

On one occasion I went in there to make ten copies of a short presentation and of course after about 5, it decided to eat the remainder of my copies and caused the grandmammy of all paper jams. Normally, I’m expert with paper jams, because I’ve caused so many in my time, I know just how to take the thing apart to get at the rogue paper. Not this one however. This one was the Alcatraz of paper jams. This one came with a miniature Jean-Claude Van Damme inside, guarding its innards jealously.

So I busted the executive copier. I had to hide under my desk the rest of the day because I was convinced they were all out there with their flaming torches, trying to smoke me out…

It was all so comical. It’s a PHOTOCOPIER, people, deal with it.


8 Responses to “People And Machines”

  1. pistols at dawn Says:

    I always feel a bit sad for these people who clearly have transferred their feelings for the children work kept them too busy to have to these inanimate objects.

    Also, I tend to set a lot of brush fires to divert their overseers, then copy at will while they’re fighting the blaze.

  2. Leonesse Says:

    The copier wars. Those are so lovely. Nothing pisses people off more than a copy machine in any form. They are the work of satan.

  3. The Guv'ner Says:

    Mr. At Dawn: Brush fires, there’s a fine idea! Except there’s a distinct lack of brush in NYC anywhere, let alone in my office. Maybe all that discarded Xerox paper could stoke a nice fire however…

    That particular lady (the nazi) honestly was a little bitter at life in general. I know you’re amazed to hear that.

    And Leonesse: I’m not sure even Satan wants anything to do with those things.

  4. T Says:

    Damn the machines,–damn them all to hell!!!

  5. T Says:

    -Except for those ones that women keep in the drawer at home or in their purse.

  6. The Guv'ner Says:

    Except for those ones that women keep in the drawer at home or in their purse.

    …so many wise ass answers, so little time…

    Also, what sort of ladies do you hang with Mr. T.? In their PURSE? Really?

  7. T Says:

    Guv – The women I hang-out with (all one-of-them) use the Boy Scout motto: “Always be prepared.” -Just in case I’m not…around.

  8. The Guv'ner Says:


    Well that would explain a lot Mr. T. I mean you hang with some horny-assed women for sure. I’m pretty sure there must be one of those types of apparatus named after you by now.

    Good vibrations!

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