With all eyes on Vancouver, it might have been easy to overlook an equally significant development in Baltimore: the Typecast Press 2010 Sick-of-Winter Games.
There were thrills and, oh, yeah, there were spills. Let’s get right to the winners and losers. Starting with everyone’s favorite winter printshop event:
- CURLING — Involves getting dried-out and warped polymer plates to lay down flat and stick to the Boxcar base so the edges won’t catch the rollers and transfer ink to the wrong part of the paper, ruining the job. This one was no contest.
Mary — Gold medal (Scissors, X-acto, Press Wash Division)
Shop Boy — Disqualified for using too much tape, sloppily applied, which of course got gunked up with dried ink, peeled up, became type high and worsened the problem.
- SKELETON — In which participants tear open a printing press’s guts going after a phantom squeak with a can of oil.
Mary — Bronze (Sure, it was a Olympian effort, but one judge — OK, it was me — gave her exceptionally low marks for failing to execute a compulsory maneuver: leaving well enough alone. It’s Shop Boy’s signature move, and one he’s performed flawlessly for years, which had made him the heavy favorite in the eyes of Las Vegas oddsmakers and the vast majority of gamblers on the eve of the Games.)
Shop Boy — Disqualified when he runs screaming from the room (in the opposite direction of Mary and Las Vegas).
- FIGURE SKATING — Contestants attempt to lock up what’s in the bed of a Vandercook (a big wooden 8, say) so nothing shimmies or “skates” around in the slightest.
Mary: Gold. In what can only be described as an upset, Mary unveils the House of Cards trick, a dazzling display of derring do that produces a rickety stack of sticks that somehow holds. Fellow Baltimorean and event favorite Otto Mergenthaler drops dead at the sight, leaving Mary alone at the finish.
Shop Boy: Disqualified (whimpering in the corner).
- MOGULS — Contestants beat the bushes for enough steady work to keep them in expensive cotton paper, rusted, TLC-needy hulks of metal and perhaps, ahem, gin and tonics. Shop Gets off to a wicked start, blogging his heart out and sharing the follies of his labor to any and all who will read or listen, all in the name of getting the Typecast Press brand out there.
Mary: Gold. As the brains of the operation, she takes a more responsible approach, slowly building the business into a success, keeping Shop Boy out of the public eye by never letting him leave the shop.
Shop Boy: Disqualified for lack of blogging as he distractedly, and hopelessly, tries to prepare for the final event of the 2010 Typecast Press Sick-of-Winter Games:
- DOWNHILL — An endurance event in which one late night leads to a late start the next day, leading to a later night, leading to an earlier start to make up time, and so on and so on and so on … 2:30 a.m. … 3:15 a.m. … 4:30 a.m.!
Mary: Gold. She wins in a walk when Shop Boy no longer can.
Shop Boy: Disqualified. His Olympic dream ends with a slow-motion pan over a prone body face down on a cot.