Keeping It Real

At Typecast Press, we work to remain true to the time-tested letterpress principles and traditions that have always made the printing industry hum: hard work, precision, resourcefulness, crazy and dangerous machinery, elbow grease, lead and … the girlie calendar.

Now, before you even go there, know that Shop Boy initially had nothing to do with this. Honest. Our suitemate, Chris Hartlove, posted the 2006 calendar as a goof — a “welcome to the neighborhood” present. It was funny. But I didn’t think it would stay.

See, Shop Boy knows that a man’s place is three respectful steps behind a woman. Mary taught him that. He puts the lid down. Five sisters taught him that. And he still bears the scars of endless Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue demystification sessions — Mary again — that caused him to eventually just cancel his whole subscription.

Yet, here they are. The lovely Fantasy Builders, version 2008. Free to a good home from Falkenhan’s, the terrific (ahem) woman-owned hardware store down the street. The Fantasies are tricked out in all manner of hoses and electrical cords, holding power tools … generally just as happy and handy as they can be and dressed appropriately for a really, really, really, really warm day. (Hey, they happen in Baltimore.)

Spend any time in a printshop, a machine shop or an automotive service center anywhere in America and you’ll see thousands of happy women just like them. So, what’s not to appreciate?

Well, start with Mary’s lecture on how each new young Fantasy Builder has herself been “remodeled.” (She sees the calendar as a learning tool.)

“Those are fake … those are fake … those are definitely fake. Look, maybe Miss June 2007’s got her own boobs, but look at how they airbrushed here and here. You guys are so gullible.” At which point, Chris and Shop Boy go all Beavis and Butt-Head.

Yeah, go ahead. Call it men’s lurid, drooling stupidity. But we’re not concerned about whether the calendar models’ breasts are real. We’re just proud of them for learning a skill — construction — that can earn them enough money that one day they can buy whatever they want. Like pants or … I don’t know … even bigger replacement parts.

Miss December 2007, by the way, appears to be a whiz at laying concrete. So smooth, you know?

Still, the lectures continue.

“Look, Shop Boy, even the cement’s airbrushed.”

So last year, when the new calendar arrived, I made Mary give me a list of all the dates the local deliveryman would show up to replace the 5-gallon tanks of drinking water at the shop. We went through the calendar to write down the proper reminder notes. Mary asked what phrase would best help us remember to set the containers outside the shop door.

“What else?” Shop Boy said helpfully. “Jugs.”

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