Saturday, January 15, 2011

My Name is Canon Pixma, and I'm going to....

My gentleman friend recently expressed the desire to buy a new laptop to replace his 7-year-old relic, but admitted that he had no idea where to start. Knowing almost nothing about computers myself, I of course volunteered to purchase a new computer and peripherals for him and set up a wireless network in his home.

This could easily have resulted in a melodrama that culminated in double suicide, and I was fully aware of that as I pulled the new Dell out of the box. Not wishing to alarm my gentleman friend, however, I put on my most convincing mask of self-confidence (which I suspect closely resembles my mask of blissful imbecility), wiped my sweaty palms on a dog, and started plugging things in and pushing buttons, mostly not at random.

I had the laptop up and running in minutes and even managed to successfully transfer all the files and bookmarks from his old computer to the new one. Next, it was time to set up the router. I was worried about this part, since I let the kid at Radio Shack talk me out of the $40 Netgear router and into the $80 Cisco one, which he said was far easier to install. I left the store feeling a little like this…

…and as I pulled out of the parking lot, I could have sworn I saw the kid high-fiving his coworker as they both collapsed on the floor, hysterically laughing the peach fuzz off their scrotums. This may well have been the case, even, but since setting up the router took all of about thirty seconds, I no longer care.

Now it was time to set up the printer—a Canon Pixma MG5220 wireless all-in-one. I had done a lot of research and felt confident that I had found the most badass printer/copier/scanner on the market for under $200. After carefully removing its protective packaging, I stepped back to admire the fly-hooptiest of wireless all-in-ones.

Damn, baby, it was shiny.

“My name is Canon Pixma, and I love you!”

Baadasssss hella-shiny! I wanted to lick it, but remembering that I was not alone, I settled for running my hand across the top of it instead.

“Oops! Dust! We can’t have that.” I fetched a soft cloth and wiped down all sides of the printer. This inexplicably created more dust. Not always the quickest to catch on, I wiped and I wiped and I wiped some more until my jowls were covered in flecks of foam. When my frenzy subsided, I discovered to my chagrin that the printer had attracted several rooms’ worth of dust, a balloon, most of my hair, and a striped tube sock from the seventies.

Ah, well. So the printer was now more fuzzy than shiny. No big deal. My next task was to make the printer, router, and computer talk to each other without the aid of wires, pulleys, or levers. Not being a leprechaun, I was pretty damn sure I was never going to make this happen. But…

“My name is Canon Pixma, and I love you!”

Hooray! My first test page! Man, I was going to print out so much crap that my carbon footprint would need a clown shoe. Best of all, I could now retire from tech support, crack open some wine, and cook dinner. I went to, found a tasty-looking recipe, and hit “Print”...


Checked the printer status. “Document pending”… “Printing” … “Error.”

“Huh.” I canceled the document and tried printing something from Word.

“Document pending”… “Printing” … “Error.”

“My name is Canon Pixma, and I’m not sure I like you.”

“Shit.” I restarted the computer and printed out another test page just fine. I tried printing a Word document…

Hooray! Then I tried printing something off the Internet…

“My name is Canon Pixma…and I think I hate you!”

“Mother...fucker.” I repeated various combinations of the above steps for an hour. At some point my gentleman friend, who doesn’t drink wine, opened a bottle and brought me a glass. I uninstalled the software, reinstalled it, and once again repeated various combinations of the steps above. My gentleman friend, who doesn’t cook, brought me a cheese omelette. It was fluffy, delicious, and worthy of a Cooks Illustrated cover photograph. “Mmph,” I said.

At some point I gave up for the night and drowned my frustrations in liquor and bad TV. The next day, I wasted several more hours of my precious pre-menopausal life trying to get the damn thing to print. On the third day, I got desperate. I called Canon’s tech support hotline and explained my problem.

Nice Lady: I see. I’m sorry that you’re having this problem, and I hope we can resolve it. Have you printed out a test page?

Me: Oh yes, several. They’re very nice. But the machine just hangs up when I try to print off the Internet.

Nice Lady: Have you downloaded the Easy Web Printing software?

Me: I didn’t at first, but I finally did when I got desperate.

Nice Lady: Okay, good. Let’s just double check to make sure that it’s in your system files.

Me: Do I actually need special software with this device in order to print off the Internet?

Nice Lady: Yes, that’s right.

Me: [silence] Oooookay….Yeah, it’s in there. You mean I can’t print off the Internet without this software?

Nice Lady: That’s correct. Okay, let’s try to print a page off the Web.

Me: Okay…hitting print.................nothing. “Error.”

Nice Lady: Hmm. Okay. What browser are you using?

Me: Firefox.

Nice Lady: Ah! It is recommended that this software be used with Internet Explorer. So, let’s try this again with Internet Explorer.

Me: order to print off the Internet, I need special software and I can only use Internet Explorer?

Nice Lady: Yes, that’s right.

Me: You have got to be shi—…For real?!

Nice Lady: Yes, our software is specifically designed to work with Internet Explorer, and it may not be supported by other browsers.

Me: [exhibiting a nervous twitch] Heh! Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh! Okay, let’s give it a shot….

One hour later, I’m still on the phone with Nice Lady from Canon Tech Support, and we still can’t make the goddamn thing print off the Internet even with rotten, stinkin’ pukehole Internet Explorer. I thanked Nice Lady for all of her patience and help, and I hung up the phone.

I breathed in. I breathed out. Then I spun around and wrestled that shiny, evil, hunk-of-shit son-of-a-bitch Hell beast back into its little Hell box.

“My name is Canon Pixma…and I’m going to kill you!”