Smell of the week

Copy machine smell

This is one of my favorite smells, not because it is a particularly enjoyable smell (it’s not bad either…sort of asexual), but because it reminds me of the good ol’ days. Many smells are pleasant not because of their inherent smelliness, but because of their nostalgic nature. It’s a personal preference. For example, Andy Dufresne probably enjoys the smell of sewage because it reminds him of escaping prison. That is an extreme example, but still.

Anyhoo, copy machine smell reminds me of my favorite job ever: working in the mail room at “the law firm” (aptly named so as to protect the identities of the innocent). It was my summer job for two of the best and least productive summers of my life. I worked in the mail room with a few guys that I remain close friends with to this very day, and each summer day was a lesson in how to get as little accomplished as possible while also complaining about the few times that work was required. Also, this work involved sticking paper on top of a giant machine and hitting the “Go” button. The rest of the day was spent playing solitaire, putting sticky notes with graphic phrases or drawings on the backs of unsuspecting victims, and trying to scare the crap out of each other as we came out of the bathroom. Then we would go drinking.

In an ironic twist of fortune, every serious job I have held thereafter has contained within its walls an omnipresent copy machine. In fact, I am sitting in front of one right now. When I started this job over a year ago, the copy machine got jammed and everyone was all in a huff, and I was all like, “I’ll handle this,” and I started opening all types of secret doors and crap and pulling out crumbled-up documents from the mid-90s and my hands were all black and I almost caught on fire but I got that baby back up and running. That’s what we in the field like to call “experience.”

At first I thought the copy machine was there as a constant reminder of my current place in the real world. But on the contrary, when I get a good, solid whiff of that copy machine smell every now then -- that sweet aroma of paper and ink, with a dash of…rubber? I have no idea -- it takes me back to that precious time of a worry-free, work-free, money-free existence. And it makes me smile.

Important note about copy machine smell: You can’t experience it by just standing at the copy machine. You have to get it on that perfect copy, usually midway through a large job. You’ll also get it when it jams and you open the big door and smoke is coming out. Then it’ll hit you right in the freakin’ face.


Evil E said…
"For example, Andy Dufresne probably enjoys the smell of sewage because it reminds him of escaping prison. That is an extreme example, but still."

DWD said…
Mike - this one takes THE cake. It might be the funniest thing you've ever written.
41 Noodles (mn) said…
I LOVE IT. I'm literly sheading a single tear at this moment. I would never trade those years for any amount of money "Mailroom work" should be mandatory for every college age male!! and I love the "Andy Dufresne" reference!!!
mkenny59 said…
Ha, ha...thanks guys! Glad you liked it.