Back in the day, while working as a reporter at the Winston-Salem Journal, I interviewed by phone an expert who kept referring to an official document he had in his possession.

I asked for a copy, which he willingly agreed to share. “Great,” I said. “I’ll be right over,” preparing to drop everything to drive across town and retrieve a photocopy.

“Do you have a fax machine?” he asked. “I can just fax it to you.”

Not understanding what he just said but not wanting to appear ignorant, I put him on hold and yelled over to my editor, “What’s a fax machine and do we have one?”

Indeed we did.

Discovering the fax machine changed my life professionally. I never imagined how reporters functioned before fax machines – or what better technology could possibly replace it.

Then came email and pdf files. And one’s fax machine became the dusty gadget in the corner buried beneath unsolicited “Travel to Cancun for $99!” fliers.

That is, until email no longer works.

A client and I are having difficulty exchanging emails. While our companies’ respective IT guys talk gibberish to each other to resolve the problem, I recently experienced déjà vu when I asked the question here, “Do we have a fax machine?”

Indeed we do.