Thank you for not printing

Dear readers, I have a confession: I am a smoker. I lit my first Kool menthol when I was 17, and what began as a childish novelty gradually snowballed into a filthy, life-threatening addiction. But before you cover your face and cough when you walk by me, know that I’m trying to quit. You see, I’m going through a phase in which I’m trying to improve myself, physically and morally. (Also, the woman I’m dating keeps throwing away my packs.) So imagine how I felt when I read a few weeks ago that laser printers pose great health risks —as in the same kind of risks posed by breathing in cigarette smoke.

Did I mention my responsibilities at Macworld include staying on top of the printer beat as well as testing the machines for Macworld Lab? There’s usually at least one laser printer in my cubicle every day. So you can imagine how I can feel the Reaper’s icy hand reaching for me when I read things like:

So, just to be clear here: I’m inhaling cigarette smoke and ultra-fine particles that contribute to air pollution. I’m doomed. I watch a lot of House so my educated guess tells me I’ve got about two months left before they’re clearing out my cubicle and sadly reminiscing about how full of life I seemed.

So to my Macworld colleagues: When the dread laser-printer disease causes my inevitable tragically comical death, you’re welcome to help yourselves to two items each from my cubicle. I have a special reservation for Carli Morgenstein, our designer, to keep the Ricoh cell phone cleaner I received at last January’s Macworld Expo. (I know she’s always envied the perks that came with my job. Associate editor Eric Suesz already has dibs on my pet cactus, and I think my boss Jim Galbraith had an eye on my Canon GL-1. As for the rest of you, you’re free to help yourselves to my piles of empty toner cartridges, broken iBook chargers, and burned OS X DVDs. And you can all help yourselves to the antidepressants I take every day to wake myself up after lunch (in the Altoids tin near my phone). Yum. I love you all.

To my family: I suppose I ought to give you a portion of my life savings. I’ve got a secret piggy bank meticulously stashed in my Onitsuka Tiger shoebox on my desk. Feel free to take it and break it, but make sure to leave the quarters behind for my roommate Travis. He does a lot of laundry.

To my best friend, Jenn de la Vega: I bestow upon you an evaluation unit of the Photosmart D5160. Sure, its photos are a bit oversharpened, reds look dark, and the control panel has irksome limitations, but the D5160 is a fast, attractive, easy-to-use printer that’s capable of printing directly on ink-jet-ready CDs and DVDs. I figure that last part should be useful to you since you’re in the record industry.

To the gang (Peter, Cynthia, Steven and Chris): You’ve always been there for me. So I thought it’d only be fair if I were there for you, monetarily if not physically. You’re each welcome to divide among yourselves what remains of my healthy organs. My lungs are, of course, shot, but my kidneys should be healthy, and my liver might still be harvestable. And if you’re lucky, you might strike gold with my heart. I eat a lot of broccoli.

To Jaime: Congratulations! You get to reap the benefits of dating a man in the ever-so-lucrative industry of publishing. For you, I’ve left behind my diamond-studded shoes, which you’re free to auction on eBay, and the shiny monocle I wear to the country club. You could probably do something with the five apartment flats that I own, too. I hear they’ll be worth something eventually.

This list would go on, but I’m afraid I’ve got to cut it short. I have an appointment to go volcano diving in a few hours, and then I’m going to squeeze in some intense sessions of miniature golf and online Scrabble. Time is precious.

Farewell, world. I’m proud to have enlightened the community with my sage-like advice on buying printers. My last bit of advice? Maybe I shouldn’t have kept all those laser printers nearby.

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