All good things must come to an end, they say – whoever “they” are. And so it is that I’m bidding a reluctant and sad farewell to a dear old friend.

This friend has been a trusted and dependable companion for almost six years. This friend has stood by me and has been at the ready at any time of the day or night. This friend has taken some of my goofiest ideas and turned them into reality. This friend has endured more than its share of sometimes not-so-great treatment and has kept on going faithfully. This old friend has done everything I’ve asked it to do and much more. But sadly, this old friend has seen its better days and so it’s time to say good-bye.

I’m talking about my HP DeskJet 990Cse printer. I got it at the very end of 1999 as part of a package with our second Gateway computer. What a great printer it has been! Until last Friday, it has worked perfectly. But something happened, and now it looks like it’s fading fast.

I’m going to have to retire it and replace it with something else. I’ll miss the brilliant colors. I’ll miss the pleasant whir of it working. And I’ll miss the automatic two-sided printing that made church bulletins a snap. I’ll even miss the sometimes-annoying error messages that try to convince you to replace the ink cartridges even though there’s still plenty of brilliance left in them.

I know it’s “old” technology now. I know that six years is a long, long time in these times in which we live. But I’m not sure how I’ll make it without my old friend.

I’m trying to decide between one of the newer inkjet printers or one of the “personal” color laser printers. It needs to be relatively inexpensive – to buy and to maintain. Ideally, it will do automatic two-sided prints. And it needs to be a loyal and faithful friend.

Any suggestions?

Oh…au revoir, mon ami.