“There’s Your Darwin Award Candidate”

There are moments in life that, no matter what you do, simply catch you off guard. No matter how much older you get surprises will always come. That’s just how life is. Such was the case for me last Friday.

To pay the bills I’m both a Telephone Technician and Systems Administrator. Don’t let me fool you. I’m one of those few folks in the world who can honestly say I love where I work, and the vast majority of people I work with. As a SysAdmin I experience the occasional moment that’s just hilarious, but I can’t laugh. You know, like noticing the power isn’t on, or the user has grabbed the wrong mouse. Just something nice and funny like that. Well today was one for the history books.

I went to help a user who had been experiencing problems with their Samsung Color Laser Printer CLP-550N. It’s a fine piece of machinery… when taken care of properly. The user reported the printer was repeatedly flashing the message “waste toner tank full/not installed”. Then it happened.

“It’s been flashing this message despite my having cleaned it out,” they said.

Immediately, the claxons sounded in my SysAdmin brain.

I asked the obvious question, “How did you clean it out?” knowing full well the potential answers involved in asking.

“I used water.” as if cleaning out laserjet printers with tap water was as natural as brushing your teeth with toothpaste.

The shock obviously registered on my face, despite my Herculian effort to contain it.

“Well that’s what I did the first time and it seemed to help,” they added.

I went back to my office and shared my experience with my good friend and colleague, Buck. He nailed it on the head by saying, “There’s your Darwin award candidate.”

Another long time friend of mine has a saying: God watches over fools and babies. I don’t mean to imply this go-getting-printer-cleaning person is a fool, but you have to admit what they did was arguably foolish.

With all the daily stress I deal with in my job, and believe me when the phones go down the stress level sky-rockets, it’s nice chuckles like this that provide wonderful relief. 🙂


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