CityBeat’s Living Out Loud – Cincinnati Blog

{December 27, 2006}   Printerphobia Hell

printer.gifSo, I was happily writing poetry, and it came time to print. Always a good feeling, when work is done, and it’s time to see the product. These poems were going to be printed on pretty paper and given for Xmas. I was way ahead of schedule, and quite pleased with myself. If I were more flexible, I would’ve patted myself on the back.

So I clicked “print.” Nothing. Clicked it again. Nothing. Again and again and again. Still, nothing but a flashing light, no movement. Then an error message. Then a multitude of error messages. So I looked into troubleshooter, called the company, unplugged and replugged everything, reinstalled software, obsessively staring at the blinking, stinking light thinking that’ll make it go away. Like staring at chicken, waiting for it to cook, when you forgot to turn on the oven. All day long, I stared at the light, fiddling with cords and buttons and “it ain’t workin” messages. I turned my phone off so I could “concentrate.” If it wasn’t before, “motherfucker” became my new favorite vocabulary word.

Now, let me digress. For the average bear, a printer problem is simple. You can a) get a new one or b) call someone or c) go to a friend’s house or Staples and let them print it.
Not me. I am of the “use force” mentality. And, if you are a writer, problems with printers or computer programs are more than just problems. You start to think the universe is against you. The universe doesn’t want you to write. The printer is possessed. Years ago, I changed my printer icon name to “printer wrestling.” My fear of malfunctioning computers goes way back. Like one day, I’ll turn the thing on, and see a message reading this: “Attention CA, this is Word talking. Sorry, but we ate your novels-in-progress this morning, and your backup cds won’t work. Have a good one. Oh, and get a job.”

So after an entire day of trying to fix it alone, I finally called a buddy. I said, “Hey, you know anyone that works on computers?” Brilliant.

He gave me his buddy’s number. So his buddy came over, drank Diet Dews with me, fiddled with the same shit I did and said, “Yep, it’s broke, haha. Dumpsterville.” Then he called another buddy, who had a printer, but he needed his. But that buddy said he knew of another buddy and printer. So he called the fourth buddy, who had a brand new printer he didn’t want. So two of the buddies (I lost track of which buddies) came over, hooked the thing up, and…well…I ended up with a brand new printer that works, a nicer printer than what I started with. For free.

All I had to do was ask for help. Lord, am I stubborn. I had this weird feeling that God or Buddha or Fred (I had a friend in VA who called God “Fred”) whatever you call it, was up there shaking heads, going, “I was just trying to send you a new printer, because your old one sucked. Maybe next time, just go with the flow, eh?”

C.A. MacConnell


Dell says:

When it comes to computers and printers and the like, all I want is to turn them on and have them work. I’m worthless when it comes to those kind of problems. Like you, I have friends who help me out when things go wrong.

hard as nails says:

all I want is to turn them on and have them work

kind of odd that your name is “dell” don’t ya think?

Darlene says:

“All I had to do was ask for help.”

Why do we has human beings have so much trouble with this?

Biscuit says:

‘Go with the flow or swim up stream’ that is the question. I prefer the salmon route for some reason.
Its odd that we have so much trouble asking for help, people love to lend a hand and are flattered when we turn to them for assistance.

Mandy says:

I always ask for help. I’m very needy.

Rick says:

“I’m very needy.”

Wanting help and being needy are two different things.

Karen says:

A nice post. I think not being afraid to ask for help keeps people connected.

C.A. MacConnell says:

I think my next partner will be someone who works for PC on call. Get rid of the middleman.

Carla says:

I say, bring back carbon paper.

Heather says:

I hear you. My computer has been down for about a week. I just got it fixed, so I’m back online, but I’m really fucked when it’s broken. I have freelance deadlines, long distance family members, I keep track of my bank account online, pay bills, AND I’ve missed this blog. Plus a children’s book that has to get to a potential publisher by Dec. 31st. Not to mention, the internet really comes in handy when my kids ask questions to which I don’t know the answers (I can now tell you anything you need to know about deep-sea bioluminescent organisms or the fundamental difference between plankton and fish).

Jan says:


Never heard of a phone?

Marilyn says:

CA, I live in constant fear of my computer dying on me… I am especially dependent on it right now for a chunk of my “social life”. I’ve been given two computers and they were both very much appreciated and used up. If this one dies, I don’t know what I’d do.

And nope, a phone wouldn’t suffice… I like to write more than talk. Just me.

PS. Yep, I also had to learn the hard, hard lesson of accepting help from others. Why is this so incredibly difficult for us??

Heather says:


I don’t get it. How can a phone replace a computer?

jake says:

maybe she’s talking about some of those new cell phones. it’s like they do almost everything.

Jean says:

If it wasn’t before, “motherfucker” became my new favorite vocabulary word.

Yes, what beautiful poetry. No wonder you need to write here.

Matt says:

Man, Jesus, we all hate you. GO AWAY JEAN!

C.A. MacConnell says:

Actually, Jean, glad you asked! I don’t just write here. I also write for CityBeat. Thanks for the support.

By the way, I only shave when I’m in the mood.

hard as nails says:

jean: she must be killed.

jackula says:

“I also write for CityBeat.”

huh? isn’t this blog part of citybeat? it’s name is on it.

jill-o says:

sometimes i think mean old jean wants to come here just to piss people off.

Jason says:

CA That’s motherfuckin’ hilarious! You had me rolling both times.

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