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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

At the Sound of the Tone, It Will Be Time to Run Screaming Into the Streets

I’ve been trying to send a fax most of the day; and like someone dragging a vacuum over the same stretch of uncooperative string on the carpet convinced that, eventually, the string will be sucked up, I return the same three sheets of paper to the fax machine thinking that this will be the time...

Some call it persistent. Others call it job security. I prefer to think of it as “paid by the hour”.

I’ve called the company to whom I’m faxing twice now.

“Your fax machine isn’t picking up.”

“Are you sure?”

Am I sure? What, do I look like someone appearing before a Grand Jury to you? Of course, I’m sure! I put the sheets in, I dial the number provided, the machine emits a high-pitched busy signal for a length of time just short of that necessary to drive one deaf, and then it spits out a sheet of paper that says “No answer – zero pages transmitted”.

I’m sure already!

And then I do it again.

Ack. I miss the mail.

I miss the tangibility of the mail.

I’m at that awkward age, you know. Sure I’ve been an unwitting tool in the computers’ take-over of the world, but I also have indistinct memories of using carbon paper to make duplicate copies on the typewriter, of weeping after typing a full page of a business letter only to finish it with a slip-up: Yous Truly…

Remember when the mail came? You opened it, sorted it into various piles, ransacked it for free pens or calendars, tossed the junk and proceeded from there.

Not so now. Now the “mail” comes in all day long. Never a wasted moment here! My e-mail is trying to get me to enlarge my penis, the fax machine has become an audible Rorschach test designed to measure my stamina and I believe there are plans to make the bathrooms more cost-efficient, maybe by installing flat-screen TVs with round-the-clock CNN transmission or treadmills or something.

I may be exaggerating that last part.

I’m going to now attempt, as I have all day, to fax three sheets of paper. The company on the receiving end assures me that their machine is up and running.

I can do nothing but trust that they are right this time.

Because if they’re not? And it doesn’t go through yet again?


I’ll be forced to do re-dial until it does.


Princess Sparkle Pants said...

I am 100% with you. I hate fax machines. And paper cutters. I REALLY hate paper cutters. But it's all good, they hate me, too.

Gone, long gone. said...

Dial it with your regular phone to see if the fax answers.

mapstew said...

I have never used a fax machine! :¬)


Pearl said...

mail was good. email and fax futz is like the addiction of rats who get a feed pellet at random times. the ones with a reliable refresh of food are more content.

anon said...

This is why I work with explosives Pearl, they are always up and running.

Might I suggest an application of just 1 @ stick of small diameter Unimax Dynamite(thats the good shit, still has Nitroglycerin in it) and 1@ # 8 blasting cap?

"Fire in the hole!" No more ear-splitting buzz.

BugginWord said...

Reminds me of that scene from Office Space where they destroy the printer. "PC load letter, bitch!"

Pearl said...

Princess, most office machinery exist only to push us closer to the edge...

Maelstrom, good idea. And it's still busy!!

Map, now that's just weird. Next you'll be saying that you've never done a powerpoint presentation.

Pearl, another Pearl?! :-) Thanks for dropping by!

powdergirl, this is why we are friends. You cut straight through to the heart of the problem and blow it up. :-)

BugginWord, so much truth to that movie!

Pat said...

Hmmm---Could it be YOUR fax machine that's having the issue? I had a similar situation and it turned out that the machine I was using had the problem.

Anonymous said...

I sent the same fax to a company six times and they kept claiming that they didn't get.
Then I turned the paper over when I put it in the fax and they got it right away. My bad.

You're dating yourself with your memories; you don't look old enough to remember carbon paper and retyping the whole thing over again. Of course, I remember those things, but I'm old.

Even fax wise, we used to have special paper on a roll. We used to have to dial on a regular phone then stick it in a cradle to fax.

I like modern technology.

The Jules said...

Print out the penis enlargement email, scrawl FAO Managing Director, maybe add a drawing of a donkey winking, and try faxing it.

Bet you it works then.

The Retired One said...

Hahhaaaa "the email is trying to get me to enlarge my penis".....hahaaaaaaa
Let me know if it succeeds okay?
That is one blogpost I don't want to MISS!!!!

Oh how I hated the carbon paper..I never MADE it to yous truly....I screwed up WAY before that!!

Jess said...

Ahh, the beloved fax machine. We have recently moved up in the world of technology and can now fax from our desks. (anything not already on the computer can be scanned in and then faxed) It is a wonderful thing!

I do not miss having a stack of 30 pages to send and when they recieve it pages 5, 12 and 23 stuck to something and didn't come through...or it will get to page 28 and decide that the memory is full or it will just crumple those last few pages to watch your blood pressure rise. No, I do not miss the physical fax machine.

avalanche said...

Get this... I asked my boss for a treadmill desk and she said it WASN'T in the budget?!! I told her to fire the fax machine to free up some extra cash. I also promised to stop stealing stamps. That oughta do it, don't ya think?

Thanks (once again) for the daily chuckle Pearl!

Bill Lisleman said...

good thing i didn't read this one day a year ago or so. My phone was ringing off the hook (holder?) because someone in the corporate world miss typed the fax number. I had to research the calling number (thanks for caller ID and internet) call the place, find a human and tell them to kill the fax machine.
Are you sure have the correct number?? Some poor soul might be going nuts with your machine calling them.

Chantel said...

(still laughing at Jules) Damn, think I might consider that epic scene from Office Space...slow motion, baseball bat...wreckage.

mapstew said...

A What? :¬)


When Pigs Fly said...

You are a hoot! Love this post. It is just like trying to suck up that piece of string the vacuum refuses to get. I will be back.
Thanks so much for stopping by my site and the kind words on my last post. I appreciate it.

Kevin Musgrove said...

We have faxes done and dusted: you ring up the office; tell them that you've a fax for them; hold the sheet of paper (the right way round!) to the mouthpiece of the telephone, at arm's length; shout (very loud): "can you see that OK?" and repeat until the document is finished.

For some reason it's six years since I last sent one.

Douglas said...

There is a real estate office (which shall remain nameless here, I won't even mention that they are a part of Exit Realty) who decided that my phone number was a fax machine that they desperately needed to send something to. So, the punched in the number, fed in the sheets, hit "transmit", and went home. Leaving the machine to continue dialing my number over and over and over. I had to bully the phone company into blocking that number from dialing my number (after explaining that, and how, I knew that they could do that and that if they didn't, I would file a complaint with the Florida Public Services Commission in the morning). They did it again a few months later during their normal business hours and received a blistering phone call from my lovely wife (aka "sally Sweetmouth") which put an immediate end to the dialing.

Which brings me to the question:

Are you sure you are dialing the right number?

Lana Banana said...

pearl, darling, please, join the 21st century, already!

three letters: PDF.

scan that shit, PDF it. done and done.

Cloudia said...

and that loud faxing SHREEEEK is the worst part.

Aloha, Friend

Comfort Spiral

Jon said...

maybe they're doing you a favor in a roundabout way...

heard of parkinson's law?

"work expands to fill the time allotted to complete it in"

it's how every bureaucracy i've ever heard of runs!

loved this post... gave me a good chuckle... thanks!

People Who Know Me Would Say: said...

Sister, I feel your pain! (Sista, An Fee-eel yo pay-een!)

I bring you glad tidings! Fax unto us shall soon meet an quiet death and all communication shall become truly paperless.

Hold that thought. Until it gets heavy. Then put it down. But don't forget where you put it.

♥ Braja said...

Tell them to get faxed.

Anonymous said...

I am so there with you on all counts!

Laoch of Chicago said...

I think you shouldn't fight it anymore and just go ahead with the member enlargement.

Pearl said...

Get faxed?! :-) Some aspect of that should've been in the title.


Oh, yes, it's the right number -- as a matter of fact, it's printed on their lousy form. Having purchased and been reimbursed for a pair of glasses back in August, the "benefits" company just decided last week that they couldn't be sure that I really bought glasses or if I spent that money on slot machines or something and now require further proof. I would PDF it to them but they've only recently converted their heating system from burning dung in a brazier in the middle of Finance to a coal-burning furnace in the basement so I think that may be pushing it.

And have I told you lately how much you people are cracking me up? I think the comments are better than the post sometimes...

BTW, if anyone is going to the Erma Bombeck Writer's Conference in Dayton OH, drop me a line. If there is still room for me, I'm signing up today.

Just think!! DAYTON OHIO! OMG! What will I wear?!

Smartassly Yours,


p.s. Jules, Douglas, and Kevin, not to particularly single you out, but I am so going to show up drunk in your front yard some 3:00 a.m., yelling up at your windows...


simplywonderful said...

I've completely been there. Although, I enjoy the time away from "regular" work, I feel like---hello? It's 2010! Can't we just like microteleport paper to someone else? We can put people into space, we have high speed internet, your phone can save your life-- why can't we find a new way to send paper to people? Or at least get rid of that annoying noise?
And being paid by the hour has to be the work of satan. I am literally counting my life away.
Just saying.

Jocelyn said...

I have built my life around avoiding sending faxes, ever since I tried to do it the first time and ended up in a weeping puddle.

I wish you could've taken a break to go xerox your arse.