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Dictionary.com defines “Xerox” as “1. Trademark. A brand name for a copying machine for reproducing printed, written, or pictorial matter by xerography; 2. a copy made by a xerographic printer”.

I must admit that I’m stretching the category here, as my intent was to use only adjectives for this A-Z Challenge, and it looks like the pros are using Xerox copy as a proper noun rather than an adjective/noun combo. Oh, well — my blog, my story, my stretch!

Back in the olden days of office equipment, 35 years or so ago, I was hired by Fresno Community Hospital as a typist clerk in their Speech & Hearing Department. It was a great job, made possible because I had recently been fired by a hypocrite masquerading as a devout Christian because my private life didn’t fit into his small-minded box, so I was available when this great job appeared.

In addition to typing audiology and speech pathology reports and occasionally answering the phone, I was the designated Xerox Key Operator. In other words, I was the employee specially trained by the Xerox Corporation to troubleshoot problems and make minor adjustments on our huge and very expensive Xerox machine. (Ooohh….aaahhh…) This rather dubious honor found my regular workload interrupted any time an employee in our department jammed the machine, ran it out of toner, or just couldn’t make it copy properly. And it was a temperamental beast, for sure, almost as if it knew that when it went out of commission our work progress ground to a halt until someone from Xerox came and brought it back to life.

I cannot tell you how much time I spent with my head down inside that clamshell, searching for the teeny tiny piece of paper that had torn off a copy and was jamming the works. Suffice it to say that in each succeeding position since, I have ended up being the photocopier specialist, although not always specifically trained by the company that supplied it. A useful skill, definitely, although not one that ever made it to a resume.

And that is my Xerox story.

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