I’m not what you’d call technologically gifted. In fact, I’d probably have been a lot happier writing books back in the days when you did it with a quill and inky fingers. That being impractical nowadays, I’ve had to get my head round a variety of pieces of equipment – and it does help that my second son is a qualified IT person.
The printer – which I have only just stopped calling the new printer – has been muttering under its breath for the past several weeks, providing each printed page with a variety of extra dots that weren’t on the originals. I ignored it as long as I could, but when it started putting verticle lines down each printout, I realised that action was needed.
Very fortunately, by this time it was the Christmas holidays and Son 2 was in the building. He sat down happily enough with the printer and my computer, looking out the guarantee first of all, but of course, that had ended a few weeks ago… He decided the fault was with the roller thing that supplies the ink or whatever it is nowadays, and which you’re not supposed to touch because it’s ultra-delicate – so he gave it a good blow and tried the printer again. The verticle lines remained. Out came the roller for closer inspection.
At this point, I decided to make coffee, and came back to find him poking at the ultra-delicate roller with a tissue that looked as if it had been in his pocket for quite some time.
‘Aargh!’ I said. ‘You’re not supposed to…’
He gave me a look. ‘It’ll be fine.’
I’d heard that before. As he was dead set on dabbing at the roller, I zipped into the loo and brought him some loo roll to dab with, crossing my fingers hard my poor printer would survive the experience. We tried it out again – the verticle lines were still there, but quite a lot paler now.
‘Perfect!’ I enthused. ‘We don’t need them 100% gone. Thank you so much.’
He gave me another look. ‘They’re still there.’
Out came the ultra-delicate roller again, and the loo roll was wielded anew, with the addition of a generous portion of spit this time. By now I was wondering how soon a new roller would arrive if I ordered it now, the day after Christmas. Son 2 licked a last piece of loo roll, gave the ultra-delicate-roller-that-you’re-not-supposed-to-touch a final and enthusiastic polish – and tried it out again. The verticle lines were gone.
What I learned that day:
1) Ultra-delicate rollers aren’t.
2) You can ignore what it says in the manual. Loo roll and spit are a perfectly viable way of fixing your printer.
I do wonder, though, if Son 2 learned that at uni, or if it’s one of those things one’s children just soak up automatically, like programming the television and changing the car clock back to summer time…???