Late in â€œOslo,â€ J. T. Rogers’s recent play about the negotiation of the Oslo Accords, diplomats are finalizing the document when one of them reports a snag: â€œIt’s stuck in the copy machine and I can’t get it out!â€ The employees in Mike Judge’s 1999 film â€œOffice Spaceâ€ grow so frustrated with their jam-prone printer that they destroy it with a baseball bat in a slow-motion montage set to the Geto Boys’ â€œStill.â€ (Office workers around the country routinely reÃ«nact this scene, posting the results on YouTube.) According to the Wall Street Journal, printers are among the most in-demand objects in â€œrage rooms,â€ where people pay to smash things with sledgehammers; Battle Sports, a rage-room facility in Toronto, goes through fifteen a week. Meanwhile, in the song â€œPaper Jamâ€ John Flansburgh, of the band They Might Be Giants, sees the jam as a stark moral test. â€œPaper jam / paper jam,â€ he sings. â€œIt would be so easy to walk away.â€
Unsurprisingly, the engineers who specialize in paper jams see them differently. Engineers tend to work in narrow subspecialties, but solving a jam requires knowledge of physics, chemistry, mechanical engineering, computer programming, and interface design. â€œIt’s the ultimate challenge,â€ Ruiz said.
This is such a great read.