We Are Not Alone

Bring Your Child to Work Day has always seemed to me a really bad idea. Gather up the impressionable young ones and let them observe Mom or Dad getting yelled at for screwing up in the workplace. Watch as the folks then squirm and make excuses, pass the blame as they botch more assignments, surf the Internet, chat on the phone about how busy they are and finally weave, bob, speed, honk and holler through the rush-hour traffic toward home.

(Shop Boy wants to create this bumper sticker: “My Child Is an Honor Student … But I’m Teaching Him to Drive Like a Moron.” Look for it on your car.)

Anyway, what are the kiddies to take away from Bring Your Child to Work Day? Pretty much this:

“Man, working stinks.” Or, worse, “Dad’s a loser.”

Why bring this up? Well, Typecast Press has entered unfamiliar territory. It’s always been just Mary and Shop Boy … and, from time to time, however many dudes it took to move heavy equipment. If one of us did something really dumb, we looked at each other, we laughed at ourselves and we moved on. No young minds were harmed in the printing of our materials and all that.

Now, all of a sudden, we’ve got interns — college kids — hanging around the shop. And it’s a bit unsettling.

The interns sought us out, seeing the Typecast Press website and deciding that, ahem, Mary has a pretty cool thing going here. And we really can use the help right about now. (Free help that comes to you. What a concept.) But interns — even, and sometimes especially, the good ones — are hard work. Mary tends to worry that they’ll get underfoot and feels they must earn our trust and their keep. Shop Boy worries that they’ll be bored or, ouch, unimpressed when they see us “live.”

So when Mary and Ned, a truly gifted print maker and graphic designer from Savannah College of Art and Design, both started shrieking “No!” as Shop Boy was printing the right information on the wrong holiday coaster … well, let’s just say it wasn’t a good sign, to my way of thinking. I wrecked only a few of the things — OK, 35 — but was so embarrassed to have messed up something so simple in front of Ned that I had to leave the building for a moment.

Playing dumb can be fun. Being dumb … not quite so much.

Still, Ned got a very valuable lesson in checking once, checking twice, checking three times and then turning on the press.

And we had a big laugh about it later. I guess young people can do a lot worse than to learn that trick.

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