I was eight years old when I first encountered the word- ‘Xerox’. My family moved to another city on my dad’s transfer. By the time I joined a new school in the new city, it had been 2 months already since the academic year started. So I had to catch up on all the notes I missed. When I approached my teacher about the same, she suggested to get all the missed notes ‘xeroxed’. I wasn’t aware what in the world it meant. Nor did I have the courage to ask her for confirmation. But I felt I read or heard the word earlier, though I wasn’t sure when or how.
I told my mom about what the teacher suggested on my missed classwork. She nodded casually and said, “We’ll get it done over the weekend.” “What does getting xeroxed mean?”, I asked out of curiosity. “Just to create a copy”, my mom replied. It’s finally weekend and I accompanied my mom to get my friend’s notes xeroxed. As we walked towards the shop, I saw the shop’s name titled ‘XEROX’ in all capitals. Ahaan! So, this was how I knew the word, the names of stores get registered in the mind sometimes. There are a plenty of Xerox stores across every street in every city. So, it’s highly unusual even for a kid to be unaware of the word. I stood watching the machine create ‘xeroxes’ of the notebook pages one after the other. First experience with anything (even Xerox) remains very memorable, isn’t it?
Ever since, for years, I’ve been visiting the stores to get Xerox. At some point during my high school, I came to know that the word Xerox was not a verb. And that, it was actually a company’s name that manufactures the photocopier machine. I was enlightened about the right word ‘photo copy’ only then! For some reason, I was surprised. I started wondering how a company’s name can be actually floating around as a verb so well, that even the stores have it as their official names to create a photo copy? Oh well, may be that’s the brand value! Since then, whenever I hear someone saying the word xerox for getting a photocopy, there comes an instant smile on my face, which is rather misunderstood.
Years later, when I google the word Xerox, it actually gave me the results saying it is an “act of copying using xerographic copying process.” Oh, so now it’s officially a verb! The Xerox Corporation was actually worried about the brand becoming a ‘generic word’ and started advertising on how xerox does not mean photo copying, but a machine that creates one! It’s impressive how major well known brand names turn out to become verbs. May be it’s a way to portray how well they conquered the world and made us dependent on them!
Next time you hear yourself or someone uttering, “I googled for the place” (Just like I mentioned about googling for the word Xerox!) or “I shall Skype you next week”, remember that they aren’t verbs, even though they’ve earned a place in the urban dictionary!