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Friday, June 30, 2000

Here's one sure way to make me feel better: new stuff. I can't resort to this solution all that often, but today I got lucky. I bought one new thing and ended up with two.

It pays to be on good terms with your copier tech guy. We've always called Bruce for repair and supplies, and we've bought four machines from him over the years. The last one was the most expensive, but it started spewing out illegible copies last November, just one month before the warranty ran out. Since then, Bruce has ordered parts, tried all kinds of repairs and retooling and reprogramming. Sometimes he's seemed to have it fixed, only to have the same problem, or something new, come up a day later.

For two months we've had a loaner. It was an old machine that I suffered gladly because I like Bruce. He was really trying, but I had to have him here every couple of weeks to clean the machine, so that it wouldn't leave a black smudge up the center of each copy. And I didn't complain about this, but I had to feed the paper in by hand because it kept jamming. All in all, a real nuisance.

the old loanerthe new one

But oh my, I now have a top of the line professional-quality copier. It's so beautiful that I keep walking into that room and looking at it, even when it's turned off. Bruce felt so bad about the constant uncertainty we've been dealing with since our first machine went down that he gave us one worth almost twice as much. I kept asking him if he was sure he wanted to do it, but he assured me that he was just making good on the personal guarantee he made us when we bought the other one.

Wouldn't it be funny if the new machine stopped working tomorrow? If you don't think about it, you don't realize how much an office relies on its copier. I've had three choices during this murky time. I could accept the inferior quality copies of the loaner, I could go to a store and pay by the copy, or I could use my fax/printer as a copier, eating up expensive toner cartridges at an alarming rate. I did a little of each, whatever seemed to work best at the time.

Now, though, I'm the copy center.

My other acquisition today is the DVD player I've been wanting ever since my CD player quit working. I couldn't really afford it, but I charged it. So it'll cost twice as much, but take forever to pay off. At least I have music again, and movies with subtitles in five languages.

The fact that it was on sale made it easier to spend the money. And finally this week I've finished paying the Boss back for the money the Company advanced me to pay the security deposit on my place. So I'll be taking home more money starting with my next paycheck, which takes a little of the sting out of spending what I don't have.

All this acquisitiveness makes me feel strange. Unclean, or something like that. I'm never the first one to buy the newest, shiniest toy. I don't have to have things just because they exist. And I can think of better ways to spend money.

Okay, right now I can't think of better ways, but I'm sure I could come up with something. I still owe David a birthday present, for one thing. And I haven't figured out what I'm going to contribute to the Fourth of July barbecue yet. I'd feel better about myself, probably, if I gave the money to a hungry person on the street. Now all I can do is invite them over to watch The Shawshank Redemption and make all the copies they want.

Guilt. It's what I do.

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Going all meta:

Good luck, Sara and Jason.

Happy birthday, Sasha and Ken. (A day late, sorry.)

Happy anniversary, Terri.

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