how to treat others

Do to others as you would have them do to you

Luke 6:31

This of course is a great rule to live by in human relations.  But I just discovered that it works really really well on my scanner at work too.

First thing this morning our accountant handed me a short document to scan.  I put it in the scanner, hit the scan to PDF button and reached for my mug of tea.  That mug of tea was just perfect by the way, fragrant, just strong enough, just barely sweetened enough, just enough cream to smooth the flavour a bit and exactly the right temp for drinking.  …in short the perfect cup of Earl Gray

The ultimate cup of Earl Gray was on its way to my lips when I heard the noise of doom

sort of a grinding, sliding…..whirrrrr splonk ca-chunk ……beep.

slowly I turned.

I glared at the recalcitrant little machine.

I put down my perfect cup of tea.

I reached out and strangled the little bugger um I mean opened it up and un-jammed the document.

I checked, the document didn’t seem to have anything wrong with it.  No crinkled edges, no previously unnoticed staples that may have caused the jam.  I checked the machine.  It was smiling brightly at me.  Blithely unaware that it has caused me to miss out on the ultimate moment to enjoy my perfect cup of tea.  GRRRRRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

okay breathe.

Now I must digress for a moment here and mention that we have excellent faculty here.  They do occasionally live up to the “absent-minded-scientist” image and some even recall images of the infamous Mr. Hyde, but most of the time, the over whelming majority of them are nice, sensible people.  They do however have some quirks.

One of those quirks is that some of them tend to treat equipment like it has a personality.  And who am I to say.  I suppose it IS possible for an  scanning electron microscope to get cranky, or for a Mass Spectrometer to have a bad day.  I wouldn’t know.  the most complex machine in my office life is the coffee maker.

Any way, Dr. MacBeth sometimes comes down and uses my scanner at night.  She logs onto my computer and scans long documents and other items for grant proposals and such.  One morning I asked her if she ever had any trouble with the scanner.

“nope. I just pet it and tell it what a good little scanner it is and it works just fine for me.  Why?”


So as I am sitting here this morning, wanting desperately to kick the scanner across the room I remember what Dr. MacBeth told me.  “pet the scanner”

I straighten and restack the document.

I place the document to be scanned in the document feeder

I take a deep breath

I reach out my hand

I glance furtively around the office to make sure no-one can see or hear me as I ………pet the scanner and murmur to it “good scanner, nice scanner”

I hit the button and wait.

the document scans perfectly.

the scanner sits smugly on my desk.  basking in the glow of my approval.

I smile.  mission accomplished.  lesson learned.

Be nice to your office machines.

I reach for my tea……..which has gotten cold.

oh well.  I’m off to go have a talk with the microwave now.  If I’m really nice to it, maybe it won’t make my tea taste too harsh when I reheat it.

So pet your office machines folks.  Give them a word of encouragement.  It works.


2 thoughts on “how to treat others

  1. When I waited tables in college our cappucino machine was especially difficult. A (Catholic) co-worker would pray over it every time she used it, ostentatiously make the sign of cross over it when she finished – and it never blew up for her. I tried it, but it apparently wasn’t interested in my Baptist prayers – it blew up just the same. So not only to machines have personalities, they seem to have denominational preferences as well.

    so far the scanner seems to be non-denominational. I’ll keep you posted if he starts showing a religious preference.


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