The many reasons to love a printer

November 20, 2020 — by Christine Zhang

What sits in my room 24 hours a day and watches me do homework without making a peep? What occasionally leaps into action when prompted, but at a cost to its health?

No, it’s not a pet. It’s my printer.

My family has owned this HP Deskjet 960c printer since before I was born in 2003, and I’ve since grown emotionally attached to it. Last year, my family let me move the printer into my room since I use it the most. Since then, I’ve begun to truly love and appreciate all the work that it does for me despite its occasional paper jams and lopsided printing.

Unfortunately, it also means that I hate forcing my printer to do any more work than it has to. My printer’s pretty loud, and whenever it’s printing, it’s not hard to imagine that it’s panting and struggling with each page, like an 82-year-old in the last mile of a marathon.

Whenever it prints a table, I can hear it working extra hard to ink down each line. The sound breaks my heart. It’s doing all this work for me, and what am I giving it in return? Nothing!

Even worse are images. My printer tends to run inky, so even when the photo on my computer is relatively light, it still comes out pretty dark. And what does that mean? It means my printer does more work than it should when it prints images. It doesn’t deserve that type of mistreatment from me.

My solution is to ask my dad to print for me at his work whenever I need to print an image or more than three pages of text. I have no emotional attachment to the printer at my dad’s work, so it’s fine if that printer has to do all the hard work. Unfortunately, since my dad only goes into his work once every two weeks, I sometimes still have to put my beloved printer through torture, but I’ve tried to reduce my printing needs as much as possible.

With remote learning, I knew teachers would expect us to print worksheets at home that they would normally print for us at school. To avoid using my printer more than absolutely necessary, I bought a knockoff Apple Pencil from Amazon, downloaded a PDF-annotating app on my mom’s iPad and began taking notes digitally instead of using traditional pen-and-paper. I’d recommend this for anyone: Not only are you being more environmentally friendly and saving yourself some space on your desk, you’re also sparing your printer from some tough labor.

So next time you’re thinking about printing those 18 pages of AP Government notes or those six pages of AP Biology notes with full-color diagrams, please consider your aged printer’s feelings first. Its emotions and health are just as valid as yours and mine.