So, mighty warrior, you plummet into the depths of the Basement Home Office to worship at the altar of the Sister Laserjet MX12-2020. You pray the gods will soon fill your hands with a warm United States Passport Application. Oho! It is not so simple. Before you are granted these holy pages, you must pass these six trials.

Path of the Snaking Cords

The lightless tangle behind the holy IKEA desk has driven many a warrior mad with its endless Moebius knots. Test your dexterity against the labyrinthine windings of the printer’s power cord, lost among desk lamp cords and the deadened entrails of an obsolete NES console you promised yourself you would refurbish and sell on eBay. Can your benumbed hands follow the power cord from the printer to the power strip? Will your eyes trust what they see? For lo! The printer was plugged in this whole time.

The Hidden Switch

Though you may bloody your index finger pressing the buttons on the front of the printer, nay, no sound or light shall emerge! Though the printer is plugged in, it is not, in fact, on. A true warrior will not despair in the face of the silent plastic and dark button with the little funnel of lines on it. Warrior, you must identify the secret on/off switch hidden somewhere on the body of the printer. Is it on the underside, in the exact spot where you won’t be able to see it unless you thrust the machine above your head? Is it in that weird little crevice you thought was a design flaw? Keep looking, warrior!

The Crimson Blinking

Oho! Do not rejoice too quickly in the chirps and whirrs as the paper-puking beast awakes from slumber. The trial before you will thin your patience to a single silken thread. The printer is plugged in, it is on, yet still the light glows crimson, unceasing red, on and off and on and off. Will the red light turn green after thirty minutes for no discernable reason? Only the patient warrior will succeed.

Battle the Setup Wizard

In this trial, you will face the mighty Setup Wizard. Only the cleverest of warriors can match wits with this cunning servant of arcane ISP knowledge. What terrors does the wizard’s friendly demeanor conceal? Will you answer his questions correctly? Or will you be trapped in his web forever, unable to understand the ancient language of the Microsoft UX Design team?

Through the Forums of Confusion

To the warrior who fails to defeat the setup wizard, one dire avenue of hope remains. You may enter the dark forest of Reddit and pray to the unseen Users for guidance. They are all around you, like ghosts, floating in cyberspace. Use caution, for you will not know if those who speak to you from beyond the veil are seasoned information technology professionals with ten years of customer service experience, or thirteen-year-olds named Jaydyn. They may lead you to victory. Or, they may recommend you select dropdown menu options that do not exist on the planes of reality. Choose your guide wisely.

Trial of the Crumpling

Lo, in the distance, triumphant whirring! All will be well with the printing of the Test Page, which shall consist of the words “test” written in white on a black background that will somehow deplete half your ink cartridge. The first page of your actual document will then be sucked into the churning beast, and you will praise the gods as PAGE ONE of your passport application appears in the tray. Do not rejoice too soon, for a second blank page will disappear into the printer, but nay, it shall not emerge.

Your resistance to despair will be tested as you face The Paper Jam. First, you must open the printer cover. But how? Which indent, which pulled lever shall release this mighty shield? Warriors who successfully open the printer must then thrust their hands blindly into the Dark Rectangle of Red-Hot Metal Components. Will you retrieve the crumpled offering from these fell depths? Will the paper rip in your damp grip? What skills will you bring to the trial? Patience? A pair of pliers? May the gods be with you.


For the warrior who passes these six trials, there will be great rejoicing! Lift your third chalice of coffee and prepare to receive the warm, holy pages of your passport application. Unless, of course, you just used the last of your paper, in which case it’s time to go to Office Max.