Thomas Garcia: The ‘fax’ of the matter is that memory was unexpected

Thomas Garcia

By Thomas Garcia

QCS Columnist

While cleaning the fax station at work the other day, I came across numerous faxes offering myself and several former employees low-interest loans or incredible vacation deals.

If you are a business owner and have fax services, then I’m sure you know what I am talking about.

For the rest of the readers, you but need to open your email spam folder and you will be sure to find a similar digital offer.

These annoying spam messages can be sent away with a simple click of a button. Although with a fax machine, it’s not only annoying, it’s wasteful. Between the vacation, unsecured capital offers, scrap metal and gold and silver buyers, the faxes add up quickly.

I think the best faxed loan offer ever sent to the office would have to be the one written in a Sharpie marker at an angle – and then ended with, “We say yes when others say no.”

However the fax machine does serves a purpose. Of course we receive media releases and city, county and state agency notifications. That aside, I’m still convinced its main purpose is telling me  “Drum Near End,” “Toner Low,” “Out of Paper” and my personal favorite, ” Line is busy; for only 75 cents Century Link will keep trying and immediately call you back when the line is no longer busy. To accept press 3.”

That last message repeats itself twice before an automatic redial. This process continues until the fax is transmitted the standard three redials fail, or I follow through with my plan to commit fax machine homicide.

Naturally after watching enough “Law and Order,” “CSI,” “Criminal Minds” and “NCIS” episodes, I know I’ll have to make it look like an accident or seem like a case of office equipment suicide. I’ll leave a smudged, barely readable note with the words gradually getting lighter, distorted and stretched the length of the paper at the end.

It’s not as though I’ve put a lot of thought into this. I swear.

The fax machine can lead to some anger management issues due to the message, “Failed did not transmit” and the occasional person who answers the fax line and spends two minutes saying “Hello?” in a futile effort to obtain a response.

It can also be a source of humor, especially if you have the handy fax/scanner/copier unit.

One of the funniest moments was when the late and (great) Catherine Bugg tried sending her sales totals to Clovis. I’m not sure if Amanda Smith (friend and former co-worker) or I had used the machine earlier to make copies and forgot to reset it to
fax mode.

Catherine entered the number for Clovis and walked away, content in the belief that her fax was on its way.

I should have noticed something was wrong right away, but I was working on a story and on the phone with out of town sources. It wasn’t until the stack of papers fell from the fax machine to the floor and the continued production of papers that there was an issue.

I walked over to the fax and saw Catherine had set the machine to make 15,757,623,879 copies instead of faxing her document to 575-762-3879. I hit cancel and gathered the more than 100 copies and took them to her office.

Catherine looked at me as if I’d lost my mind and burst into laughter when I explained what had happened.

See fax machines have a higher purpose, it helped me remember a wonderful memory of a dearly departed friend.
Thomas Garcia is a senior writer at the Quay County Sun. He can be reached at

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