If it was packed in its own carrying case, today it would be too big for the overhead compartment on any commercial airline. When I got my first fax machine in 1988, it was considered so revolutionary just being able to carry it into my office myself made me consider it portable. My friend Kent got one for his office at the same time. He was directly upstairs from me.
The machines came with a complimentary roll of thermal paper. Kent and I used up both our rolls within two hours of getting them working, faxing each other comics that we’d ripped from the Vancouver Sun newspaper. Occasionally we’d circle the punch line to ensure the other didn’t miss the joke.
Re-stocked with cases of thermal paper, in the weeks and months ahead, the novelty still too new and unusual, we’d communicate exclusively by fax for things we normally talked on the phone or in person about.
If a response to a fax wasn’t immediately forthcoming, it meant the clarity of the transmission was such the point was lost on the other, and you’d have to pick up the phone and say, “what did you think of that article? Oh really? It must be your machine. OK, I’ll re-send it.”
Had this year’s 4th Annual Hot Chocolate Festival started at the dawn of the fax era, two people wanting to communicate to each other the virtues of our Paula Deen White Trash Trainwreck specialty beverage, would have to do something like this:
– Go to a camera store and buy a pack of Polaroid film
– Load the Polaroid camera with said film and head to a Mink café
– Order the Paula Deen White Trash Trainwreck
– Take at least three selfies of yourself enjoying your Trainwreck
– Wait a couple of minutes for the pictures to develop, waving them in the air to speed the process
– Recognizing that you’re not in two of the three pictures, discard them, and with the third in developing mode, use your thumb to push around the chemicals and distort the image to give it a psychedelic look
– Go back to the office, tape the picture to a sheet of paper, and write a funny caption underneath.
– Load it into the fax machine, and dial up the number of the person you want to send it to.
– If you’re really aggressive, you might invoke the polling feature and send it to more than one person at a time.
– Wait five or ten minutes, then call the recipient and ask them if they got it
– Spend a couple of minutes talking about all sorts of stuff, and before hanging up, ask them to send you something.
In the brief time we’ve been running the Trainwreck, it’s been tweeted, facebooked, youtubed, vined, snapchatted, blogged and pinned. I don’t think it’s been tattooed. Thousands of people named Kent the world over can now instantaneously share the Trainwreck experience. If the 1988 me was transported by time machine to today and was shown all this, I’d quiver in my Keds fearing some voodoo magic. I suppose the next revolution will be the taking for granted your phone dispensing a cup of that Trainwreck with a simple push of a button.
Mink Chocolates Inc.,
Mink A Chocolate Cafe Ltd.
Call toll free: 1.866.283.5181
Call the Vancouver store: 604.633.2451