With only a minor amount of cosmetic damage, I actually managed to fix my XBOX. I followed some guides I found online (because when has the internet ever been wrong?), and got all the way down into the disc drive itself, which was a novel experience.
For months, one of the little flippy memory-unit covers on the front of the Xbox had been broken. When I took the faceplate off, I could see this was due to a missing spring. Once I got down into the disc drive, I found the spring, resting right on top of the laser’s lens. I don’t know if this is the reason for the open tray error, but I took out the spring, pushed the laser back to the center of the drive, then put the whole thing back together, and it worked. It was gratifying that it turned back on without any problems (unlike when I tried a similar operation on my first PS2).
I did have some trouble getting the case back together again. I had to resort to force, which resulted in a little plastic clip on the outside of the box cracking, but it wasn’t a critical piece, and I finally managed to get the thing back together again in a way that seems solid.
So that’s a victory, I suppose. Now I can get back to playing crap games and avoiding responsibilities, and honestly, that’s the whole point, right?