Perfectly Fine

Don’t get me wrong: Perfection is a great goal. Really. But you wouldn’t saddle up even a gifted donkey for the Kentucky Derby. You wouldn’t hit up a highly decorated IRS agent for help in being “creative” on your taxes. And you wouldn’t ink up a glorious old-time letterpress looking for the slick sheen of an offset printing job. That’s not why we’re here. We like the appearance and handmade feel of letterpress, the “happy accident” that gives us an even cooler effect than we’d imagined. The punch. The arty one-of-a-kind-ness. The imperfection.

Or did I miss a memo? Apparently, yes.

For there we were at a little after midnight, facing a 10 a.m. deadline, loupe in hand, sweating over whether one more piece of tape on the left rail — or one less on the right — might make the impression just a tiny speck of a smidgen better … on a cheapo party coaster with a drink recipe that we were giving away! Should we adjust the platen? (Me: “No!”) The inking’s funny. … Is it too cold in here? (Me: “Not where I’m standing!”) I’m not sure, but I think I’m seeing a slur. (Me: “Nothing like the ones against God and man you’re about to hear out of my mouth!”)

Of course, I’m saying these things to myself. Sigh. Suck it up, Shop Boy.

Results: Half a piece of tape off the left. Test. Platen backed off one tick here … test … one tock there. Test. A little tack reducer. Test. Make-ready. Test. Loupe check.
Mary: “See? It’s perfect.”
Me: “You were right, it’s better.” (Translation: It’s $#&@% 2:15 a.m. Whatever.)
Mary: “Perfect.”

My attitude at the moment? Not so much.

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