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Dave Pyatt: Forget infrastruture, we've got an ink crisis

Humans have both a need to create and document thoughts and to show them to others. Cardinal Richelieu, chief adviser to King Louis XII, in a play written in 1839, proclaims: "The Pen is mightier than the sword ... Take away the sword; states can be saved without it." Tommy Lasorda further added: "I never argue with people who buy ink by the gallon." This referred to newspaper coverage of his beloved Dodgers. The printing press is generally considered one of the foremost inventions.

These thoughts occurred to me after I spent several weeks researching which printer to replace my older one, which refused to print in black and would only do colors and a few other misdeeds. I found out that printers only last a few years, and any sensible person just tosses these things. I'm not sure if they're recyclable or not. I'll find out on trash day.

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The one I selected only cost $59 and was rated by some as the number one printer. I went to one store, and they had a separate wing just for printers. I got dizzy and left and did some more research. My local store had a smaller choice, and I spent considerable time using my new iPhone 6 to do more research at the store.

While I was doing this research, I observed a steady flow of customers buying ink cartridges that cost almost as much as my new printer but came in a much smaller box.

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After this exercise, in which I came to realize how much ink these truly marvelous gadgets use, I've concluded that our number one problem regarding bulk fluids is not oil, drugs or pharmaceuticals. It's ink.

I'm of an age where cursive writing was the order of things, and I studied mechanical drawing as an engineering student. After a year or so, I was pretty good, and the habit has stayed with me. I considered myself a double threat: cursive or lettering.

But like everybody, I'm now addicted. If there is a printer problem, my wife says: "Dave; there's a problem with the printer." Of course, this is a Code Red.

I'm now of the opinion that CNN should at least elevate this to a top tier question for the upcoming Republican Presidential campaign. At a minimum, the second tier (below the top 10) could focus solely on this, since nobody has a clue about the Middle East and whether global warming is a threat. The ink threat to our national psyche is here and now and must be dealt with. Perhaps it could be woven into the Decaying Infrastructure issue for the Big Boys.

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Back to the pen; I have several nice ones and, in particular, a sterling silver one from some momentous occasion in my life. I spent so many years writing student notes before copiers were prevalent, went through the Paper Mate, Bic and roller ball eras. I once worked at a company where a salesman gave me a "Big Red" pen, one of the first fat ones, and this caused quite a stir when I showed it to our CEO, and of course he wanted one, too. That took some fancy maneuvering.

I'm now working through the quirks of our new printer, which has the capacity to link up with my iPhone if I so desire to continue this tortuous process. It is indeed very slick, can do photos and probably within a few months I'll be very happy with it.

However, our national ink crisis continues.

Dave Pyatt writes from Mount Airy.

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