What size is printer paper? Just normal, regular, printer paper? Would you believe that this week I lost all my credibility with our tech support magician because I forgot this essential bit of information?
I used to BE tech support for my school (light weight tech support, not the folks who did the heavy lifting). So I knew that some folks that needed help had really done all they could to resolve a problem by themselves, and something was really wrong. They were the “credibles.” Some were working their way toward credible. And some were basically clueless, and it didn’t matter how many times you explained things, or demonstrated things, or tried a different way to get a message across, they saw a computer and their brains froze.
Until last Wednesday, I was in the almost credible category in my retirement community. I could manage things reasonably well, but once in a while something would trip me up. When I called for help, a very talented young man would schedule a little time to help me work through my pickle. I tried hard not to abuse access to his help. But then.
I bought a new printer; we set it up on the network; I “chose” my printer, and printed happily for about a month. Then I printed a photo. And nothing ever worked again. I touched buttons; experimented with settings; turned things off and on again. Nothing. “Check the printer for errors.” Again and again.
Allow me to digress. Back in the day when I was tech support for my building, helping teachers work their way from clueless to credible, I developed a set of questions that I’d work through to see if we could solve problems over the phone. I started like this: “Is it plugged in?” “Is it turned on?” If the answer was yes to both of those, I figured we were off to a good start. On day, a “credible” called me saying he couldn’t get any response at all from his computer. I didn’t usually start at the very beginning with this guy, but this time I did. “Is it plugged in?” “Is it turned on?” Long pause. “Are you still there?” A very sheepish voice responded, “Thanks, Grace. Sorry to bother you.”
So back to my story. Yes, my equipment is plugged in and turned on. Great, but nothing will print. Help arrives (bless you, Devon), I show him what I’ve tried, and we both grumble about the terrible, tiny window on the printer with messages that are impossible to read. He starts punching the same buttons I’ve been punching, and asks me to try printing again. Printer noises float through the room, paper makes its way through the innards, and a printed sheet emerges onto the exit tray. Joy!
Yes, printer paper is 8 1/2″ x 11.” It is not 8″ x 10.” I know that. I’m not that stupid, you know. So why did I choose 8″ x 10″ and stick with it through two weeks of trying to solve my printing problem? My feeble excuse is that there was no 8 1/2″ x 11″ option. So, perhaps it was late, perhaps my aging brain was having a senior moment after moment after moment. I don’t know. I just know that the “letter” option (there are many paper options on my new printer) simply never clicked with anything in my brain. So of all the things I tried, selecting “letter” paper was never one of them.
I’m not sure why I couldn’t make that leap from “8 1/2 x 11” to “letter.” Prolonged senior moment? Stooopid? Well, I certainly felt stupid when I saw the solution. I can’t do rocket science, and I accept that, but this? This was just humiliating. And here I am, sharing with you, because it was also pretty funny. I’m hoping I haven’t lost all my credibility with tech support. I’m not sure I have enough years left to climb from clueless to credible again.