Tools of the Trade

My printer died last week after a twelve-year run. Considering how machinery works these days, I thought it remarkable the printer lasted that long given it’s one of my most used tools.

I bought the HP inkjet printer at the recommendation of a techie friend. The machine only did one thing: print. I mostly used the black-and-white draft mode to save on ink. It didn’t print photos very well, but that’s not why I bought it.

Over those twelve years that machine printed countless copies of manuscripts in their various stages. It printed queries to agents and indie publishing houses, and emailed rejections from agents and indie publishing houses. Freelance writing. Letters. Tax forms. Receipts. Stuff I found useful on the Internet.

But last Friday, the printer spit out its last two pages and then no more.

The error message concerned the cartridge cable. I went online for support and tried every trick suggested several times. Nothing worked. I suspect the printer’s innards were finally worn out, but I didn’t want to spend money to have it fixed.

I ended up buying another HP. I found after twelve years, printers just don’t print. They copy, scan, and fax. (I told the store’s salesman: who faxes?) They’re wireless. Those are useful features. And I ended up spending far less on the printer than the one I was replacing.

As a writer, I don’t need many physical tools to write. There’s my computer and printer. I recently purchased a microphone so I can do audio for my books. I now own an iPad, thanks to my generous kids. Of course, I have a cell phone and a wireless getup to communicate with the outside world.

That’s it except for office supplies like paper and ink.

I disconnected the old printer and drove it to the recycling center yesterday. I placed it on top of the pile of electronics that will be recycled. I know it’s silly but I felt sad leaving it there. That printer was such a workhorse, and I hope the one that replaces it can meet the challenge.

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: Yup, I had to take a photo of the old printer at the recycling center.

ON PEACE, LOVE, AND YOU KNOW WHAT: Thanks to all who have bought my novel, in digital and paper. Here’s an easy link Peace, Love & You Know What on Amazon