No good deed goes unpunished.

It’s an odd thing, that expression. It holds true often enough that I accept it as true.

Since you have a good mind, I won’t ask you to accept the veracity of that saying on my word for it. I intend to establish the fact of it with a tale of woe, my good deed that ran amok.

I gladly agreed to help a church friend make handouts for the annual stewardship drive. It is no huge deal, though it takes a chunk of time to print out hundreds of one-sided and double-sided print jobs, in color. I’ve helped out this way before since I have a decent printer that prints out those double-sided sheets at about 10 per minute or something like that. It’s fast for a home printer.

This morning, I pulled up the first file to print. It needed to be printed in color, one side, 125 copies. It printed out exactly how I wanted, so I set up the 125-count single-page print job. So I thought, or so I intended…!

My printer is older now, and sometimes locks up if you accidentally give it bogus instructions. In this instance, I accidentally failed to select a one-page print field. As far as the printer is concerned, if you don’t select a small section of the whole to print, going against all common sense (if you are human, not the product of a human) you’ve selected the whole spreadsheet to print out! Hundreds of sheets, blank. Thousands of sheets, blank. A lot, anyway.

Of course, I kept my head on straight, and the problem soon disappeared.

Of course, I kept my head on straight, and the problem soon disappeared.

“What’s the issue?” you ask since you are tech savvy, a genuine computer (and peripherals) whizz. Tell it to print out hundreds of blank pages equal to the size of the spreadsheet by forgetting to select a print field, and the little bugger will print out hundreds of blank sheets equal to the size of the spreadsheet! Any idiot knows you just pull up the printer menu and tell it NOT to continue printing the bogus job! Simple, eh!? Or turn it off, and the instruction disappears into the ether. Surely!

My printer has a surprise, though. It won’t interrupt the print, pause the print, end the print no matter what you do. Whine, scream, cuss, pull the power cord off, pour water on the electrical components, remove the ink cartridges, call the President of the US to stage a drone strike: NOTHING stops it!

I discovered a long time ago the only thing that does work in this instance with this printer is to uninstall the driver, reinstall the driver, pour sacrificial sheep blood over the ink cartridges, sell your children into slavery, and vote for Sarah Pallin for President in 2016. Man, you can hand-draw the print job before you WANT TO wallow in that punishment!

I decided to suck it up, just keep my head long enough to get the miserable thing working again.

I know I have a disc somewhere to take care of the reinstallation, but, of course, it’s the one I never find when I need it. I went online to the manufacturer’s help site. I went through the process, tried out the printer. Wow! Not only did it work, it did a bang up job finishing the 125-count single-page print job. Then it did just fine printing up a 75-count single-page print job. I thought I might even finish the whole print job at the rate it was going!

"Where did I put that sledge-hammer?"

“Where did I put that sledge-hammer?”

The next print job required colored paper. This 75-count double-page print job went well, too! “The curse of good deed doing is broken!” I thought, then the damn thing printed out one side of the job on one sheet of paper, and the second side on a second sheet. Static electricity is not our friend! Ask my Persian cats! I even fanned the paper multiple times, all sides before I put the stack in the paper bin.

My problem with the single side printed is this: I barely have enough colored paper to print the job as requested. I decided to leave this sleeping dog alone. As long as it was printing anything, I’d let it finish up on plain paper. Maybe that’d work for my friend, too. If not, reprinting the job wouldn’t be any problem now that I fixed the printer, I told myself.

Oops! Did I say that or just think it because the moment the thought hit the printer – WiFi feature I didn’t know it has?! – it ate the last sheet of the colored paper. I’ll spare you more detail other than to note the printer insists there still is a paper jam, something I can’t verify without a screwdriver or (preferably) a light sledge-hammer. I practically disassembled it to find the offending paper.

My printer is one of those four-in-one machines. Print, copy, fax, scan to your heart’s delight. Nice machine! I’ve had it four years and use it regularly and heavily. I checked my online bank statement, added in some funds I’ll see shortly, deducted a few outstanding bills, and decided I will retire my machine with honors. If someone can make it work, someone who doesn’t collect guns, rifles, bazookas, hand grenades, or other means of small-scale destruction, then he or she can have it. I won’t need it because I managed to squeeze a new four-in-one machine into the budget for the coming month.

I just don’t recommend that the new person use this machine to do good deeds because, as you know, no good deed goes unpunished!