It's a strange name for a printer, Mr Chips. Indeed, it is a little weird. It's also a name he has had for five minutes, bestowed only as he has died and purely so that I can have a title for this blog post. If you compare Samantha, my old laptop, and Lionel, my current desktop, with Mr Chips, you could say that the fact that he has not had a name all through his life has meant that I have not appreciated my old friend, the Epson Color Stylus 740. But you would be wrong.
Mr Chips has been such a good and faithful servant, taking care of all of my printing needs. In the time that he has been my servant I have delved around in his insides, because I love getting the most out of my consumables and I was fucked if I was going to listen to Epson once Mr Chips' warranty expired, with their dire prognostications about how Mr Chips was only designed to use Genuine Epson Intellidge cartridges and if I did anything naughty like refilled his cartridges, Mr Chips would repay me by exploding in my face. (We all know by now that printer companies make their money in consumables. And this means, in our culture, that because it's about making money therefore you get to scare the people as much as you can bloody well can to get away with as much of their money as you bloody well can).
And so for years I have injected Mr Chips with ink, and it's never done him any harm. When things went wrong, as they rarely did, I opened him up with a screwdriver like a loving doctor and cleaned his bits, after looking at the excellent tips that used to be contained on several large printer-fix websites before Epson and Canon and HP and all the others got narky about people fixing their own stuff and hence which have now been taken down from the sites I used to frequent way back in the dim past when Mr Chips was sturdy and George W Bush was in the White House and Brokeback Mountain was in the cinema and Mariah Carey was singing far too many songs for anyone's good. (But if you look hard enough, you can still find those do-it-yourself alternative-health-for-printers sites in other places on the web).
As far as I can discern, Mr Chips is about 13 years old. He has existed with me through a marriage, and a divorce. He still has the Set To Soar - Hawthorn Member 2007 sticker on his lid. I thought that we would be going on for a little longer. But after today, I think I have to finally concede defeat. I would be quite happy to continue on with Mr Chips but it seems his waste ink pad (sort of like his lungs, I guess) has finally given up the ghost. And, as Mr Chips is ancient when it comes to the required consumption of Western consumables, I can't find any replacement pads for him. And so this is how it ends - Mr Chips is considered too old for a lung transplant, too far gone for anyone to donate any new lungs for him.
I feel sad. Partly because I was hoping for Mr Chips to continue until he was 20. I don't care about having the latest peripherals. It's tedious and it bores me like batshit, and I hate the guilt of knowing I am contributing, in my small way, to that giant sea of plastic that lives in the ocean.
Like many deaths, it happened suddenly. And so now Mr Chips sits with his lid still off, from where I tried to operate earlier and failed. It looks somehow obscene, letting him sit there with his lid off like that. I think the only decent respect I can pay Mr Chips is to put his lid back on him, so that his long metal rod isn't exposed for all the world to see.
Thanks, Mr Chips, for your long and decent service. Amen.