Tale of the Rejected Laminator

So, there’s been this bulky, heavy laminator stored on a cart in our back room for years. It’s broken, I’m told. I gainfully plug it in and press “ON”, and sure enough, nothing happens. Clearly this machine needs professional help.

I call up my Electrical Engineer friend. He arrives in my classroom with his tool bag of esoteric pokers, prodders, capacitors, bulbs, who knows what all these things are. He unscrews, pulls, prods, replaces, examines, tests. “Hmmm, I can’t really find anything wrong… is there some kind of safety mechanism on this that prevents it from turning on if the alignment isn’t correct?”

“Oh, I have no idea… what do you mean?” It all looked pretty straight to me.

Input tray must click in for machine to turn on.

Input tray must click in for machine to turn on.

He slides the output tray one centimeter deeper into the machine over a little hump and Click! it settles into a new place.  Pokes “ON”, and the lights turn on, machine is humming happily. Brilliant!

What’s the moral of this story to me?  This machine had sat for years in our storeroom. It had come precipitously close to being scrapped as “junk” since, after all, “It doesn’t work and none of us have a budget to get it fixed.”  A tool is only as useful as the knowledge and skill of the craftsman who wields it. The mind, not the material, is key.