Letterpress List No. 7: Paper Cuts

They called it bad parenting.

We had entrusted a local “finishing” company with our baby — the Zolo holiday card — in the form of reams of a Crane’s paper called Lettra. This is the good stuff. Thick paper that will take a strong impression (the “feel” of letterpress), yet not let the image push through the other side, which can be a problem if you’re printing there as well. We were. The card is a Global Action for Children fundraiser, meant to help at-risk kids and orphans around the world. A buddy, Jennifer Delaney, is executive director. Byron Glaser and Zolo — known for its wildly creative toys — designed the card.

The paper comes in boxes of “parent” sheets, in this case about 22 inches by 30 inches. Mary does the math on how best to utilize every square inch of the stuff. (Her method is madness, but whatever … it eventually works.) The finishing company is in the same building where Mary had found a guy who would create cutting dies for us on a dime — but for considerably more spare change. The business has got years and years “best of” plaques all over the wall, and a jukebox with Juice (“It’s a Heartache”) Newton on it. The receptionist was nice and helpful.

Anyway, we’d convinced ourselves that this was too big a job, timewise, for us to handle on our little guillotine cutter. Plus, Shop Boy is constantly preaching trust:

  • that Mary can do anything (believe it)
  • that things will work out
  • that others will put as much care into their work as we do into ours
  • that Shop Boy won’t do (NAME OF MISTAKE NOT TO BE REPEATED) again.

This would not turn out to be a trust-building experience.

When we went to retrieve the order a couple of days later, the receptionist was snarling. Uh-oh. The rep said the order was on a pallet out back. Double uh-oh, as we’d driven our car — my little pickup can’t fit a pallet in back either. Besides, it wasn’t a very big order. What did they need a pallet for? My heart sank. We’d need to repack it, for sure.

Shop Boy drove glumly around to the back loading dock. Then the rep opened the bay door. “Oh my god,” Mary said — over and over.

There, on a dirty pallet, plastic-wrapped so tightly that many of its edges had bent, was our order. The rep, seeing Mary’s face, ran to get boxes and a helper. Shop Boy, not knowing quite what to do, just stood there. This was a mistake he won’t repeat anytime soon.

“Don’t just stand there!” Mary barked. “Get a box.”

Four of us repacked the paper and loaded the truck in silence, except for this:

“The paper was damaged when we got it,” said the rep.

Shop Boy, I am not ashamed to tell you, was suddenly afraid — for a lot of people.

Well, to make a long story short, we printed what we could, discarding damaged and dirty pieces all the way through the run. And Crane, graciously, sent lots more paper once its rep — a guy named Dave Kidwell — found out what the project was for (even though we couldn’t promise he’d meet Angelina Jolie, a Global Action for Children spokeswoman).

We’re cutting this pile ourselves.

But Mary’s still fuming. Never seen her this mad. I’ve left the name of the finishing company out here, just in case Mary torches the place. Hate to see her go to jail. Worse, I’d hate for Mary to know that Shop Boy was the lone potential witness to the crime, know what I mean?

By the way, we never had this conversation …

***

Let’s lighten the mood, shall we?

Letterpress List No. 7: This is, like, three weeks in a row that Shop Boy’s filed a Tuesday list on a Tuesday. And how about that Red Sox-Rockies World Series that Shop Boy predicted — for Next Year? We’re on a roll, baby. Let’s keep it going: Here are some songs perfect for killing about an hour or so. As usual, most should be available at iTunes or Napster (just so I don’t seem completely biased).

BurnRancid (We don’t need no water let the [um … darn old thing] burn.”)
Sweating Bullets
Megadeth (“Sharpening the ax and my palms are getting wet.” Hmm. Must work for our finishing company.)
SmileLily Allen (Have mercy! On second thought, nah.)
Don’t KillHamell on Trial (“Thou means YOU.”)
SugarSystem of a Down (Going away forever, but feeling better.)
Calm Like a BombRage Against the Machine (Tick, tick, tick.)
Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights)Pat Travers (Not kidding: ready to fight.)
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and UnderstandingElvis Costello (Who are the trusted?)
Dirty DeedsAC/DC (Concrete shoes, cyanide, TNT … check. Bon Scott lives!)
You Oughta KnowAlanis Morissette (Can you feel it?)
RenegadeStyx (The jig is up.)
My Name is MudPrimus (Turn up the base … and grab a shovel.)
Guilty ConscienceEminem (Temper, temper.)
Some Heads Are Gonna RollJudas Priest (Indeed.)
Looks That KillMotley Crue (“If she don’t get her way, she’ll slice you apart.”
Ha Ha You’re DeadGreen Day (Moshing on your grave, dude.)

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