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#a22 :: Printer cartridge caps

March 6, 2008

030608.jpgThe printer‘s box doesn’t mention two things:

1) You’ll blow through a complete set of eight 12-dollar color. cartridges every three months or so. (Do the math. Ugly.) And …

2) Every time a cartridge runs dry, ampoule you must strip off fistfuls of crap – Cardboard box, cellophane envelope, cellophane shrink-wrapped rip-strip, cellphone wrapper and throw it away.

Denude the new cartridge – the comically tiny plastic box filled with a few mililiters of neon-colored ink. Shed its many layers of carefully manufactured skin into the trashstream.

And now you can print – more neon-colored pictures. Some of which will wind up in the trashstream, too.

The last things to tear off and throw away are these: 2-inch-long levers of injection-molded, carnival-orange plastic.

Snapped off, they allow ink to flow from the cartridge into the printer.

And now useless for their original reason for existence, they pile up in little boxes and baggies around my house.

I own dozens: bright. Cheery. Compelling. Useless.

They’ll just wind up in a landfill – or perhaps a slow freighter full of junk plastic headed for China – if the bone-tired trash-pickers at the city recycling plant can even spot them on the conveyor belt amid the relentless surf of bottles, cans, porn magazines, newspapers and TV-dinner boxes.

Fresh from being ignored, they fall into the main cashstream. Millennia from now, archaeologists will be judging our people’s degree of civilization based on physical cruft like this.

But things of inherent beauty should not be cast off when doing so would only serve to make the rest of the world uglier.

So I’ve started adding mine to a necklace.

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