In Tatters

My underwear is showing.

But that kind of thing is going to happen when you run out of rags at the printshop and your partner digs through the dresser at home for a day’s supply, ripping and rationalizing as she goes — and they go.

“I’ve never liked this pair … that T-shirt is so over … look at the collar on that thing … disgusting.”

Well, Shop Boy could argue that they had a lot of wear left in them. He could argue that the ratty concert T-shirt will be a classic some day. (It’s saved my Are We Dead Yet?* tee … so far, anyway.) He could argue till he’s Pantone 287 blue in the face that it was unfair that his underthings were taking the hit again.

Mary would then argue that he could have remembered to pick out some rags himself — at the store.

Instead, Shop Boy remembers his place. And, under his breath, utters an unmentionable.

Heck, at least they’re dying for a good cause.

See, the humble rag is a key part of the printshop — and not just any shreds of fabric will do. Certain types release bits of thread or cloth dust while you’re cleaning that stay behind on the press rollers or the ink plate, waiting to grab ink and form little blobs that could mess up whatever you’re printing. This means you’ve got to stop the press, remove the offending matter, remove the chase and let the press run to redistribute ink to cover the bare spot. It’s annoying, and preventable.

So, here I am, cleaning the rollers with a patch from a favorite pair of my tighty-whities.

A friend to the end.

(* Are We Dead Yet? was my brother Matt’s thrash metal band way back when. Slogan: “Dance or Be Danced On.” See? Classic.)

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