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Thursday, June 13, 2024
The Observer

'I apologize'

I want to issue an apology.

In the midst of debate over the new print quota this year, I recently caused some printing drama of my own.

Let me preface this by saying that I never print things. I’m just a little too scatterbrained to carry around papers. I prefer to keep everything electronic if possible — I take pictures of all of my paper-only syllabi, turn everything in through email if possible and have never printed out a slideshow in my life.

However, this semester is different. I’m in a fiction writing class, which I love, but it requires me to print out a copy of every story I write for each member of the class. That’s 14 copies, which didn’t seem too crazy until yesterday.

Yesterday, I finished my fiction story — due that same day — in the morning and rushed from my house off campus to my first class. I didn’t have time to print out the story yet, but it didn’t worry me — I had plenty of time between classes.

After a class in DeBartolo, I decided it was time to print the story. This seemed like a totally unceremonious thing to do at 1:45 p.m. on a Thursday. Little did I know the horror that lay ahead. Three terrible elements came together turning my innocent chore into a full-blown disaster.

The first was that my story wasn’t a normal story. It was a fictional narrative made of images, and I failed to notice that the image sizing made the document three pages long, double-sided. Things were already going terribly as I entered my netID and password only to see massive images shooting out of the machine. This was no longer an innocent chore. This was me printing out 42 pages in DeBartolo.

The second was that, as it turns out, the DeBartolo printers are saboteurs that move at a snail’s pace and appear to hate nothing more than double-sided printing. Watching the printer spit out, then suck back and regurgitate each paper only got more painful as the minutes ticked by. The gravity of the situation sunk in as the asthmatic-sounding printer heaved and coughed up tiny fractions of my assignment.

Finally, the third and most important part of this equation was that it was passing time in DeBartolo Hall. That meant that what felt like the entire student population was racing to their next class and approximately half of them needed to use the printer. As the line piled up behind me, I could feel the dread sink in: I just became “that student” who prints 42 pages in DeBartolo when everybody needs their slides.

So if I inconvenienced you yesterday — and by the look of the line, odds are I did —  I apologize. I didn’t know the trouble I was getting into. I hope I didn’t make you late. I hope you can forgive me.  If you can’t, take comfort in knowing that it’s likely I used my entire new print quota, so I’ll never be “that student” again.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.