Benbrook Library / Library services

Getting Out of a Jam


Behold the Mega Ruler, clearer of paper jams!


All of those who work in an office-y environment know that every now and then, you’re inevitably going to have to engage in a Michael Bolton-esque struggle with printers, copiers, and other infuriating machinery. Today, that bell tolled for me. During a 100+ page print job, the library’s main copier/printer, which had just been serviced yesterday morning, mind you, saw fit to royally jam itself in multiple places.

Tempted as we were to take out our frustrations on the inconsiderate contraption with a Louisville Slugger, our staff members worked to painstakingly remove the stuck paper from the seemingly endless nooks and crannies in which it could’ve been hiding. While we managed to discover and remove almost all of the jams, one bit of mangled paper remained deep within the recesses of the machine, just out of reach.

Because an inconveniently placed non-removable drawer prevented the paper from being retrieved by hand, I tried to fish it out with a ruler, but it remained a tad too far away. What I needed was some kind of mega ruler, one roughly twice the size of a standard ruler. With no yard stick available, I engineered a sophisticated solution that would hopefully make MacGyver start an admiring slow clap for me: I taped two rulers together, fashioning the mega ruler I sought. I also put some tape on the business end of my creation to try to stick the paper, but that turned out to be fruitless. Instead, I threaded the Mega Ruler through the small opening, pinned the paper to the surface of the machine, and dragged it to sweet, sweet freedom.

With all of the jams removed, the copier resumed printing, sparing library staff and patrons an irritating day filled with workaround printing solutions. I’m glad my crude instrument was able to save the day this time, but I know a day will come, possibly soon, when it won’t do the trick. On that day, we’ll probably call a technician, but I’ll continue to silently fantasize about the dream solution of every office-y space employee: batter up.


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