Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My computer printer is almost human

It doesn’t have arms and legs with which to walk around the room, and I would never ask it out on a date, but it does have one very human characteristic.

It talks to me.

Just this morning, as I was printing down the latest monthly statement of my checking account from my bank, the printer began saying, “That fool, that fool, that fool.” It was clear as a bell. I can only hope it was talking to me and not about me.

But then all of a sudden it seemed to be saying, “Pat Boone, Pat Boone, Pat Boone.”

I never know what the darned thing is going to say next. Last week it was chanting “Chickamauga, Chickamauga, Chickamauga” at me and sent my mind off in the direction of the American Civil War (1861 - 1865) .

Another time I distinctly heard it say, “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” and instantly I was transported to the death of Lady Macbeth and saw Birnam Wood moving towards Dunsinane Castle.

I kid you not.

I’m sure if you listen closely, you will discover that your printer is talking to you as well.

Let me know in the comments section what you have heard your computer’s printer say lately. I’d love to know.

The only question that remains is why my computer printer would be saying “Pat Boone, Pat Boone, Pat Boone.”

I don’t remember if I have told you this before, but our paths (Pat Boone’s and mine) crossed in the mid-1950s. Our school’s Future Teachers of America club had gone to a two-day district conference on the campus of North Texas State College (now The University of North Texas) in the town of Denton. There was a dance the first evening, and live music was provided by the college music department’s jazz band. The featured singer with the band that evening was none other than Pat Boone, who was a student there.

We actually breathed the same air. Yes, we did. So did Dick Clark and I in 1958 at American Bandstand in Philadelphia. I’m pretty sure I already told you about that.

This post and a small fortune could get me a room in a good psychiatric facility.

Not that I need one.

I am not crazy as a loon. Crazy, maybe, but not crazy as a loon.

Not yet.

P.S. - I looked through my archives and discovered that I have, in fact, already told you about crossing paths with Pat Boone back in the mid-1950s in this blogpost from November 30, 2012, which you should read, because it may convince you that I actually am even crazier than a loon.

Not that you need any convincing.


  1. (Nervous cough) Err, our computer printer never says anything to us Robert. It is a dumb machine that just sits there waiting for instructions. I have arranged with Derek Struchtemeyer, LPC to visit you to make an initial assessment. He should call round tomorrow morning. Derek says "We can together unravel and resolve the issues and problems disrupting your life. We can find and maintain balance, peace, and a sense of well-being and hopefully convince you that computer printers don't talk".

  2. Our printer doesn't talk to me, either. But when my mother went to the college in Denton, TX, it was TSCW (Texas State College for Women).

  3. Yorkshire Pudding, well, of course I know that the computer printer doesn't say anything; I was being anthropomorphically metaphorical. Plus saying something requires a mouth, which the computer printer does not have, unless you count the tray that "feeds" the paper into the printing mechanism. I was referring to the sounds emanating from the mechanical device that remind me in their repetitive, robotic way of the rhythms and sounds certain speech patterns we humans have, such as "Who's your daddy? Who's your daddy? Who's your daddy?"

  4. Mary Z, there are actually two universities in Denton. NTSC became UNT, and TSCW became TWU. They are two completely distinct and separate institutions. If I remember correctly, Ladybird Johnson (neé Claudia Alta Taylor) was a graduate of TSCW.

  5. Do you ever feel weary because your brain seems to never stop thinking and wondering and analyzing and pondering? I do. And now I won't even be able to stand and wait for a document to emerge without evaluating the vocabulary of my printer as it does its job. But don't worry ~ I'll be thinking of you as I do! :)

  6. Talk? No -- but click, groan, chirp, cheep and squeak it does, from time to time. To my remembrance, it has never emitted any sound remotely resembling "Chickamauga,"or "Pat Boone." Might I suggest ear-plugs (for yourself) when you're going to be using your printer?

  7. LightExpectations, my work here is finished.

    But Pat - Arkansas, ear-plugs would take all the fun out of it! I suggest you listen more closely to those clicks, groans, chirps, cheeps and squeaks from now on.

  8. Sadly rather a lot of the computer equiptment talks to me. And very little of what it says is printable. And some of the words it makes fall from my lips aren't either.

  9. Robert, I suggest a hot toddy and perhaps a good nap. Pat Boone. Really? No talking printers here metphorically or not.



  10. Sorry, who are Pat Boone and Dick Clark? What is a chequing account? What is a printer? And what is paper?