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Nerd Merit Badges

1.5", fully embroidered, Velcro-backed. Attach to your jacket, your backpack, or the lid of your over-clocked, battle-scarred laptop. Start a nerd sash!

09: Printer Hero

You don't earn this badge by fixing printers and copiers. You earn this badge by being willing to try.

How many times have you sent a print job to the office copier, counted to ten, and then strolled over — only to find that your job is stacked up behind six others, and there's a plaintive yellow light blinking on the front panel? "PAPER JAM OPEN DOOR A", or "TONER LOW", or even (God help us) the dreaded, inscrutable "PC LOAD LETTER."

Now, here's the thing. You know you're not the first person to see that blinking yellow light. Every other sender of a print job, they walked up, they saw the message... and they walked away. They figured it was someone else's problem. They pretended they were headed to the coffeemaker all along. They ran away from the monster.

But not you, my friend. THIS ENDS HERE. And, by God and all that is holy, you squint at the little status message, and you OPEN DOOR A, and you read the instructions on the sticker inside. And you try something.

When everyone else scurried away, when everyone else figured that "PC LOAD LETTER" was a fiery challenge emblazoned on someone else's shield, you didn't. You seized the little, plastic, sequentially-labeled levers of fate. YOU WRESTLED WITH DESTINY, and risked getting toner on your good shoes.

And that makes you... a Printer Hero.


Normally, each Nerd Merit Badge comes on a cardstock back, made for us by a local copy shop. On a local copier. But for this badge, we wanted a back that embodied the heroic vanquishment of these godawful beige-colored killers of our souls. Could a copier be involved in celebrating battle with copiers? It could not.

The back is letterpress. And not just any letterpress — we went to a letterpress shop and we said "What's the awesomest, the thickest, the most LETTERPRESS-IEST back we can have? 220-pound stock? DO IT. Golden ink? DO IT. Golden edges? DO IT." Essentially, we asked for every possible optional upgrade available, so that you can hold your badge up in front of your copier, and you can ask it: "Can you make this? CAN YOU MAKE THIS? You cannot."

Each thicker-than-a-credit-card, deep-detent, gold-edged card costs more to make than the badge itself.

What price heroism? What price victory? What price purity? Well, we'll tell you: $12.00! (The higher price is for this letterpress-backed badge only.)

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