I’m the person in charge of printing out the entire internet. Like in case of a solar flare taking out global communications. Or an EMP attack. Any sort of disaster that would send us back to the dark ages. They say it’s part of Continuity of Government and all that. They have me set up in a big warehouse, like the one at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Just stacks and stacks and rows and rows of shelves. I’ve only filled up one part of one shelf in the five months I’ve been here. I have my work cut out for me.
Near the front of the warehouse is my office. Just me and a computer and an HP Officejet Pro 8600. It’s pretty nice. Wi-Fi-enabled, so like, no cords or anything. There’s also a red phone, like THE red phone. Like the one the president has in the movies. I’m too scared to touch it. I assume it’s there because they’ll call if whatever might happen starts happening. And then I guess I’m supposed to print stuff faster or something? Maybe finish it out on something really important? Not really sure. I brought in a tea towel to drape over it so I don’t have to think about it.
It’s a good job. Got it off Craigslist. You’d think a Department of Homeland Security gig would be harder to get. I even said that in the interview. The interviewer said all the important people are already working on more important stuff. I said that was a little rude. She asked if I wanted the job or not.
There’s not much oversight. It’s sort of a self-directed position. I’m starting with printing Wikipedia. That feels safe, right? Lots of knowledge going on there. At first, I would click random articles and just print out whatever it was. A few months in, I realized I’d accidentally printed out the article for BAREFOOT CONTESSA three times. Fair is fair, random doesn’t mean no repeats. After that, I started going alphabetically. There isn’t an alphabetical list of the articles, so I have to guess and double back a lot. I began at ACCUTANE but pretty quickly remembered ABRAHAM LINCOLN. As long as the printer keeps going I guess I’m doing all right. I hope I remember not to print BAREFOOT CONTESSA again when I get to B.
Do I have to print out porn? They said the whole internet. I guess I probably have a good decade before I have to start thinking about that. But how would that work? Or even be helpful to anyone?
Near constant printing uses a lot of paper. I have to go to Staples a couple times a day. I was hoping I could strike up a good rapport with the employees there. They’re the closest thing I have to coworkers. They don’t seem to like me, though. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. I thought we could do a little joke where when I’m at checkout with a ream of Hammermill they would say, “The usual?” and we’d laugh. They’re not outwardly mean or anything. They just really don’t seem to want to chat.
YouTube comments? I can’t see the merit in it. It wouldn’t even have the context of the video. But it is part of the internet, so gotta print it.
I don’t know what toner is. Do printers still use toner? I’d look it up but that would take time away from the printing. I guess I could print out something really long and look it up while that’s going on. I did that once to take a nap. I was tired because I stayed up late watching The Good Fight. Usually, I only allow myself one episode but it ended on a cliffhanger and I just needed to know. I printed out The Kite Runner because I knew it would take a while. Though, I am realizing now that The Kite Runner already has been printed out. Like, a bunch of times. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to do that.
I guess I should start thinking about alphabetizing too. Right now everything is filed in the order I printed it. That’s not gonna help when the President of Whatever Is Left wants to learn about what kinds of birds there used to be. But that’s not even alphabetizing; that’s categorization. And then I guess I’ll need subcategories too. Is BIRDS enough to be its own thing? Does the movie The Birds go under BIRDS or MOVIES? Or both?
I went on a date last week. His name is Tony. He’s on the team in charge of capturing and storing all the smells. We first met at the interview at DHS. He was nice and the dinner was fun but he smelled like a hot garden hose the whole time. It wasn’t a bad smell but surely there would be more smells. Some of them good, some of them bad. He was telling me last week they were working on Crest White Strips mixed with saliva. I don’t think I could handle someone bringing their work home like that. He really is a sweet guy, though.
Oh, APARTHEID just finished printing. Time to print APOLLO 13. That should be fun.