Monday, January 14, 2013

Print: Ellen Hawkins


I have a new printer. It’s a dud. I think it’s a cousin of my computer which is also a dud.
They both come from a future where every device is so sophisticated it falls over itself with pride and can’t remember what it was designed for in the first place. My printer, for example, is so modern it won’t print. 

            I need an old printer, one that actually works. But I know any replacement printer will come from the future and will be flawed. I wonder if I can sell this concept to the rulers in the Middle East. They’re generally at the forefront when it comes to notions that tend to snarl traffic rather than point towards a solution to whatever ails the region. Exchange new printers for old!! Your scud missile for my ballistic bozo! 
            I could make a fortune selling old printers to people with new printers because old printers were designed to work. I’d become famous. One day I’d have a print-off with say, Netanyahu, on CNN.  Of course we’d both lose, especially me because my TV, which also comes from the future, would fail at some important juncture and I’d be a no-show. The UN would fine me for wasting the world’s time and I’d spend the morning in jail. I bet I’d learn a thing or two about printers in there. The place would be reeking of printer geeks, the guys who design the duds. More likely, I’d be in solitary confinement or sharing a cell with another printer loser. We could commiserate about the injustices of the printing world, the gargantuan cost of an ink cartridge, the complexity of the instructions necessary to install the thing so that we can watch the printer use half the ink spewing out pages of stuff to confirm that the printer is indeed working. A millisecond before it stops.
            To be fair, my printer sometimes does indeed print a page or three, as requested, right before it goes to sleep. The next day it’s never heard of me and the only way it can be coaxed into printing is to reload the software. I’ve done that twice this week.  When it’s not having its software reloaded, my printer snoozes in the corner until I say, knock, knock and it says who’s there and I say me, your bleeping owner, and please can I have a few copies and it says the printer equivalent of sod off.  I exaggerate. Most days it smiles and pretends I’m not there. What is required is a bomb to coax it into action, but the bomb imbedded in the word ‘okay’ print command never goes off. It too is a dud.  Nevertheless I play the game: select the correct printer, the page range, the number of copies, and then I press the button that says okay, we’re armed for delivery. Print!
            The printer is too busy laughing its head off, totally entertained by me and my index finger. Even as I call it unprintable names I know, and my printer knows, that it’s never going to print this.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

First Word: Danette Beavers: Caterpillar


 Flying mammal-er-pillar
What’s a cat-er-pillar?  Well, a feline-er-pillar, of course!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday Prompt: Susan Siddeley: Resolution


Resolution is Clarke’s sandals, sunhats, canvas shopping bags and flowered umbrellas. Resolution can feel like a scrubbing brush, smell like chlorine or sound like a dentist’s drill, but resolution’s aftertaste is pure chirimoya.
            I rise with resolution every morning - in January at least. It’s an inspiring, energising thing, though possibly a tad wearing by lunchtime, like a husband home on holiday. Resolution is a corset that helps me stand tall, but which takes a lot of getting into and even more fiddling to get out of.
            If I ever have another baby - and my husband and I keep saying we really should try for another, given the success we’ve had with our previous ones, and now there are disposable diapers and Hummer strollers to help you along - we’ll definitely name it Resolution.
            Yes, my new goal; a baby called Resolution to keep me busy, involved and up to date. Plus, Resolution fits very nicely with the latest trend in keeping a baby’s gender secret, so sturdily male, yet vibrantly female. Yes, I can and I shall, this year, go for a little Resolution.  Resolution Siddeley.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

First Word: Suzanne Adam: Swing


The first swing my father made for me was an old rubber tire suspended by a rope from a thick branch of the cypress tree. Later followed a board held by two scratchy ropes, again in the shade of the old cypress. There I learned to pump, thrusting my legs forward and then bending them back. Learning to pump meant I was grown up—five or six. At the school playground I competed with others. Who could fly the highest? The playground swings hung from a bar on heavy metal chains that squeaked and clanked as I soared higher and higher. Soon I could even jump off while still in motion, landing firmly on my feet.
            But, later, swings became child’s play. I was off to another section of the playground to play kickball, volleyball and softball. A strong batter, I loved the cracking sound as the wooden bat connected with the ball. But, while I was wielding the bat, another swing burst into my life. Rock and roll.
            When I was eleven or twelve, I rocked to Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino with boys shorter than me, their eyes level with my budding breasts. Better yet, I swung with my best friend Karen in my living room to our favourite 45 vinyl records: “Rock around the clock” and Ray Charles belting out “What’d I say”.
            That was then. Now, in my kitchen, I wiggle my hips to Aretha and James Brown on the radio. And I take my granddaughters to the park where they call me to watch how they’ve learned to pump their little legs. There’s an empty swing next to them. I sit down and push off, thrusting my legs forward and back. Harder and harder. Higher. Higher. Reaching for the sky. Hair flying, the wind brushing my face. Laughing. The girls and I.