There’s Nothing Quite Like That New Scanner Smell

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
One StarTwo StarsThree StarsFour StarsFive Stars (Rated: 1.33 out of 5)

The scanners have arrived. They are cute, so the designers are to be commended. One feels nearly protective and eager to put the big one on a diet heavy in fiber, i.e., jargon-heavy academic content analysis of campaign ads. But that will have to wait. My wife more or less elbowed me aside when I had the desk scanner up and running, which was simple. (If it hadn’t been simple, this post would have been funnier. I will shortly have pictures of a cat batting at sheets of paper exiting the scanner. Looks like they are going into the shredder pre-shredded. Hah.)

I have so many big plans for this gorgeous runt. Only recently have I realized how many documents, articles and graded stories among my students can be circulated as PDFs. I mean, I knew, but in the past I scanned with a variety of combo printers, which had made the task difficult. With my last scanner, which shall remain nameless, it was an impossible task. Somehow the scan menu disappeared, and I haven’t been able to find it. *Note: I am not at this moment taking dictation from Fujitsu’s world-class PR people like some bogus Amazon five-star review. I couldn’t make the dang printer scan, which was pretty inconvenient two weeks ago when I was trying to send a stack of medical bills from last year to the company that runs my pre-tax med-deductions account. I faxed instead and somehow the faxes got lost. (Space for marriage joke about me and scanner: together in sickness and in health.)

On our practice documents for the ScanSnap, the instructions said (in essence) “Now all you have to do is press the blue button,” when I pressed the blue button, it scanned, quickly and beautifully (“beautiful” as in colorful because my wife was afraid it wouldn’t scan in color and wanted to put it to the test).

More about my wife, ready to be bad technology’s harshest critic. She is an architect, who has moved over the years from pen and ink to AutoCad. AutoCad, at least when she was learning it, seemed complex to no good end – as it was trying to winnow the profession – and she assumes the worst of any machine that boasts of its ease and logic. Well, so far so good. She has boxes and boxes full of architectural details and specifications, all the minutiae that go into a building that prevent it from descending into ugliness and collapsing prematurely. We have all seen buildings by famous architects that – as any passerby can see or only the inhabitants understand – are pieces of misdesigned, misaligned windows, doors, HVC systems and so on. If God really is in the details when it comes to architecture, my wife has stacks and stacks of righteousness. So that’s her plan. To clear up the mess by scanning it all. And she also has drawer after drawer full of recipes. Hence our first scan: a recipe for Lodge Brunch Frittata from a Williams-Sonoma catalog. I can almost smell it.

Actually, I am smelling it. I timed this post most carefully for maximum effect.

Michael Robertson (@jmr1944) received his Ph.D. in English from Duke University. He is a Pulitzer-nominated journalist who has worked for the Atlanta magazine and The San Francisco Chronicle, amongst other publications. He is currently writing a book on the art of the newspaper column. His areas of interest include journalism history, literary journalism, feature writing, reporting.