Six sets of my suicide note, please

Friday, 11 April 2003

If you start your own copy shop, do not undercut Kinkos. Cheap copy shops attract the kind of customers that cost a lot more money than not attracting as many customers b/c of high prices.

Xerography, as the kids say, is today primarily the domain of sub-cultures who can’t afford or learn to operate a $400 Gateway and a $75 Lexmark. The people who feel the need to completely document and duplicate their lives, thoughts, dreams, so on, tend to be the people who lost their mental-care situations when Reagan got his first swing at signing some Bills in 1981.

One woman in particular would bring her suicide notes in for copies. She would have us copy them, even though self-service was cheaper. She would leave them overnight, even though the job took all of 40 seconds. She would linger at the counter the next day, sure we’d read her missive to the great Unknown and all things Cruel, waiting for one of us to intervene. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

One day she came in for six sets of a new letter; presumably another suicide note. She’d been refining them.

She went to the counter and bantered with Barnaby about who would make the copies. We or she. Barnaby was, quite appropriately, as if he’d been trained at home by a psychologist, non-committal and unwilling to make the decision for her.

He provided the pros and cons but didn’t volunteer an opinion until she leadingly asked the third time, “Or I guess I could just make them myself?”

In a moment burned deeper in my silver paths than any birthday or first-kiss, Barnaby leaned across the counter to her, looked her square in the eyes, and said, “Go crazy.”

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