My friend the costumed adventurer G. Xavier Robillard just blogged about his love/hate relationship with his fax machine. This is him giving a guest a tour of his house:
But then their eyes move to the corner, underneath the giant poster of the American Eagle who is all about freedom and I find very inspirational and they ask is that a fax machine. Yeah. You know. Because sometimes. Someone asks me to fax something. After that the person asks to see a cooler room in my house. Like the back hall closet. It’s like they’ve seen my Shawn Colvin CDs.
He’s right that faxes are cumbersome, outdated dinosaurs (and about Shawn Colvin, but that’s beside the point). But he’s also one of those young, Blackberry-dependent hipsters, who imagine the old days when people sat around in caves waiting for the someone to invent the Internet.
Since I am one of those cave dwellers, I am now going to adjust the suspenders clipped to my high-waters and tell a story about the old days.
Back in about 1991, I was working as an assistant manager at a Kinko’s. (Don’t ask. It was a just-after-college thing that I quickly grew out of. We all have our lost years, right?)
The manager called me into his office one day, asking about strange charges on the phone bill. He showed me. I shrugged. We scratched our heads.
Then we got to thinking. All the phones in the store were blocked from calling long-distance — all the phones except the fax machine, that is.
The manager and I wandered over to stare at the clunky plastic box with the cheap handset on top, then looked at the phone bill, and the late-night charge for a 900 number and the company name, “Red Light Ladies.”
I stared hard at that machine, with a new-found and troubling recognition of how one of the late-night clerks had used it.
I never touched the machine again.