Monday, February 16, 2015

Lessons In Civility From My Printer

Indeed, my friend, if measures are not soon taken, and the most vigorous ones, to root out these pernicious weeds, it will be in vain for America to per-severe in this generous struggle for the publick [sic] liberty.
-Sam Adams to James Warren, February 16, 1777

My copier/printer constantly beeps, flashes and taunts to remove and check either the black or the color cartridge. I think, man that’s pretty racist that my printer believes the problem is caused by either the black or the color cartridge. Must be though, right? After all, there’s no white cartridge stirring up the trouble. It’s black against color, and vice versa.

Then I think about the white paper. Just lazily sitting in its tray, even being indolent while others do all the work – i.e. the black and color cartridges – as it slowly glides thru the printer. Who gets all the glory? That lily-white piece of paper with all the neat words, pictures, etc, on it. Meanwhile, the black and color cartridges that printed them are sent back to their compartment, hidden away inside the printer without thought or recognition. Without either, though, neither could do their job. It’s a harmonious coexistence, which must be maintained for flawless operation. If the ink goes out, neither words nor pictures can be displayed on the paper; if the paper goes out, neither cartridge can perform their duty.

Now imagine what would happen in society if half suddenly stopped “working,” no longer cooperating – willfully or otherwise – with the other half. We all have our “jobs” in society to do; the first, and frankly only, priority should be to work together in our daily lives in creating a better one for the future. Instead, there is the constant drone of beeping, flashing and taunting for attention that serves no useful purpose toward that end. It’s time we give thought to recognizing that for what it is, rather than giving credence to what it unfortunately has become.

When your printer jams, you clear the obstruction. When it breaks down, you repair it. And when it is beyond such remedies, you replace it – hopefully, with something more efficient and reliable, yet with similarly familiar useful features. Perhaps, it is time we gave some thought to that as well. At every turn and on every level the system – government, education, society – is broken. Why is this? Because, as Green Arrow would say, we have failed it. We have failed to provide the proper maintenance to maintain it, while expecting it to function more reliably and efficiently. As the situation is allowed to continue, it is almost seemingly beyond any remedy.

Is it time for a replacement? Or, just more civility rather than increasingly less?

©2015 Steve Sagarra

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