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Location: MPLS, MN

Friday, March 05, 2010

disection of a photocopier

so on one very cold winter one night in 2009 I was leaving the Crescent Moon bakery on central ave with my very good friend Patty. we had Just eaten dinner. crescent Moon, as you might know, serves one of the greatest and strangest pizzas I have ever eaten. perhaps my mind was addled by the pizza, but while walking to the car I was struck by an unparalleled vision of beauty. it was a old discarded PHOTOCOPIER! specifically the old 80's type that used to have multiple toner cartridges in it. it allowed it's user to make xeroxes in yellow and brown and red and all kinds of colors. devices such as these are very rare today. when I saw it I thought had found my ticket to comic book printing easy street. of course it's power cord had been hacked off. my optimism got the best of me. I imagined a scenario where some office worker was casually playing with a weed whacker, or perhaps electric hedge trimmers in the office and accidentally chopped off the power cord.

"great job dilbert you've ruined an otherwise perfectly working vintage photo copier with your careless clowning antics! now come help me get this thing down to the street"

I figured that with a little soldering iron and electricians tape I could have this thing up and running.
anyways my optimism must have gotten the better of Patty too because I somehow convinced her we should drag this thing back to the printing studio which was located 6 blocks away. since this monstrosity was to heavy to lift I told her to take the car and meet me at me studio, and that I would simply push and drag it the rest of the way. eventually with much struggle we got the thing into the space and I felt triumphant. visions of two and perhaps three tone mini comics were dancing in my head. I was sure that this weapon would be the perfect addition to my arsenal in my unending personal comics based war.

cut to roughly a year later. and the thing just doesn't work, the ambition I felt the previous night was completely gone by the next day. the copier sat for months without me making any real effort to repair it. at one point I taped an old power cord onto the frayed wires and tried to turn it on. one light turned on but the thing didn't even make mechanical sounds or anything. eventually the people I share the printing space said it was time to get rid of it. so I rolled up my sleeves and got the big lug into my truck and we were on our way to the county hazardous materials disposal site.

when I got there I was informed that photo copiers are an item they will not accept. they referred me to a center that charges 35 cents a pound for materials like this. my estimate is this copier weighs at least 300 lbs, perhaps even 500. that's a lot of weight and cash I don't have. apparently the only solution I came up with was to dismantle it myself, hack it into to smaller portions, double bag it in heavy duty yard waste bags and throw it away in the trash. basically the same method one would employ to dispose of an unwanted body.
you, dear reader mist be thinking:

"thats crazy AND stupid"

I could have just dumped it by the side of the road near a college and some students would have taken it. I could have made a craigslist posting for it and some sucker like myself would have taken it.
this copier must have some time wasting psychic power over me. how else would it have convinced me to take it with me in the first place? I grabbed my screwdriver, my crowbar and my hack saw. I turned the radio to LOVE 105 and tuned my mind on to destructive cyclone setting. in about 3 hours I was much covered with toxic black toner dust (don't worry too much I was outside and wearing a dust mask) had the thing reduced to neatly bagged rubble. perhaps if this whole comic book thing doesn't work out I can relocate to one of those towns in china that are just huge electronic garbage dumps. where people of all ages hack away at computers and VCRs to get the platinum and gold and other reusable metals out of the circuit boards. all the while breathing heaping lung fulls of toxins till their internal organs are composed of more heavy metal than human flesh.
it makes me wonder if there are also towns were people dig through the corpses of the people who work and die in the hazmat towns. if some little kid is somewhere is straining the liver and lungs that used to belong to a hazmat worker in order to get the reuseable platinum fibers and gold dust and coltan particles. which in turn leaves me wondering if my cell phone or my laptop currently contains any materials that were harvested from a human body? I guess this is a large digression.

But back to my copier, at one point while removing whatever thing the toner cartridge connects to I found this child's toy wedged deep into the innards of the machine. guess now I know what broke it.

and I guess that's the end of this tale, I don't know what the point is. perhaps it's a cautionary tale, beware of dreams that include interchangeable color toner cartridges. I've been around this town long enough to know where all the desolate industrial areas are where all the unsupervised hazmat dumpsters are. so I loaded up my ride drove into the sunset and made the rounds.



Blogger Cory said...

Brett, this is amazing. A great tale well-told.

9:52 AM  

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