Letterpress List No. 36: Tool

A shark hunter? Shop Boy? Hah!

But there the thing was, writhing on a Delaware beach, having spun itself into a tangle in my fishing line. Now, we aren’t talking great white here. But it was a shark — only about 4 or 5 feet long from tip of nose to end of tail, and I might even be exaggerating, but whatever — that had the misfortune of snacking on a bit of squid or something I’d stuck on a hook. (We were hoping to catch bluefish or maybe stripers.) Its teeth looked all grown up to me. So while I rolled the shark on the wet sand to try to free it from the tangle, I tried to think what in the world I was going to use to retrieve the hook from those choppers. I hadn’t thought to bring a knife or pliers.


So the hook at least would have to stay. Oh, sharks shed their teeth at such a rapid clip that he’d probably spit the thing out on his own in a few weeks. But we had only a few more days at the beachhouse. And it was getting dark.

Anyway, the shark was still spinning and, even though I’d pulled him back into the surf — I know, but I thought he was going to die otherwise — there was no way to break the line and untangle him for good. I’ve used my teeth to snap lighter line, but that wasn’t happening here on this heavy test. Shop Boy’s dentist is quick enough with the drill as it is.

Then it hit me: Wayne’s fingernail clippers. Mary’s always complaining about her dad’s manicure habits. Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip. What’s so annoying about that? I shouted to Wayne, who reached into his pocket and … um … Snip. The shark was free. Sort of. Now he was being pushed onto the beach by the waves, too tired to fight the surf.

So I picked him up! And carried him in my arms like a puppy out past the breakers! And set him free! And then got the heck out of the water! And I’ve never stopped talking about it since! And neither, Shop Boy’s sure, has the lady who swims in the area and stopped by to ask, “Was that a real shark?”

And who cares?

OK, good question. But Shop Boy couldn’t help but think of his big fish story while puzzling over how in the world to feed a bolt behind and then through the support of the new shelves at the Typecast Press studio. Of course, if I spent the next two hours unloading the freshly organized shelves, plus the ones that locked them into the corner, I could slide everything over to make room. Just like if I’d brought a knife to the beach, the shark never would have left the water in the first place — and what kind of story would that be?

As it was, there was barely enough room for the bolt to pass between the support and the wall. But I needed to somehow reach around, feed it back toward me a few inches, then turn the bolt 90 degrees through an opening, where it would attach to one end of a wire stringer.

Eye of the needle stuff, you know?

Well, none of the tools I had on hand was slender enough to be of help. So after fumbling with and dropping the stinker about five times, I started looking around.

Think, Shop Boy, think: Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip …

Snap! A rubber band! Sitting right in front of me.

Shop Boy grabbed it, wound it up nice and tight until it was long and narrow, fed it through the hole and then let it unspool, sort of the opposite of the shark — see? It’s all connected in Shop Boy’s world.


Like a lasso, the rubber band fit over the end of the bolt and, with a bit of coaxing, the end of the bolt eventually poked through. A few minutes later, the brace was solidly in place.

Now for the curtains. Yeah, curtains. You got a problem with that, tough guy? Call me Heidi Klum’s … um … lesser if you want. But Shop Boy even folded over the eight tabs at the top of each curtain to shorten the things a bit, then put a gold-colored grommet on each one to hold it in place and look kinda cool. Next, I’m going to hem them. OK? By the time I’m done, we’ll have beautifully covered up the ugly stuff on the shelves and protected the rest from dust.

And Shop Boy will have survived another challenge. So there.

Letterpress List No. 36

How about an hour’s worth of music to craft by … or at least to pass the 57 minutes of inane dialogue (sorry, Shop Boy shouldn’t talk) before Heidi issues the final “auf wiedersehen” to our parting contestant. Most of the tunes should be available in the usual places. Goofy and great links are to YouTube.

Pulling Me Undere.joseph (Good friend Eleanor Lewis, who’s tipped Shop Boy off to some real cool music — Duke Spirit, Rilo Kiley, etc. — suggested this one. Check it out at the MySpace site, which offers a free download of another one, “Changing Trains” — a limited time offer.)
Deepest Bluest (Shark’s Fin)
LL Cool J (From an awesomely bad movie, Deep Blue Sea.)
MalibuHole (As the sun goes down, I walk into the waves.)
Cover of the Rolling StoneDr. Hook (The thrill that’ll get you.)
The Set Up (You Need This)Reel Big Fish (It’s not cruel. Almost, maybe.)
NightswimmingR.E.M. (The fear of getting caught.)
Theme from JawsJohn Williams (Snip……..Snip. Snip…..Snip. Snip….Snip. Snip…Snip. Snip-Snip-Snip-Snip-Snip-Snip-Snip-Snip-Snip-
SquidLos Straitjackets (There are no words …)
Bite MeElectric Six (Ready for the crazy-crazy?)
VicariousTool (You kind of had to be there.)
I Got a Line on You — Spirit (Honest mistake.)
Don’t Get It TwistedGwen Stefani (Hold still.)
Face to FaceSiouxie and the Banshees (Sushi! Get it? Oh, I kill myself sometimes.)
Hey StoopidAlice Cooper (‘Nuff said.)
Rubberband Manthe Spinners (Prepare yourself.)
Auf WiedersehenCheap Trick (Mary’s hooked on Bravo’s Project Runway and apparently I’ve gotten a bit too close myself. Also, Shop Boy’s mom had a bit of a “you wrecked ’em, you fix ’em” approach to clothing repair.)
Tiny DancerElton John (Seamstress for the band. To paraphrase another Bravo reality show putdown: “I’m not your lesser, Lesser!)
Use the Man Megadeth (Seen the man use the needle.)
Wipe Outthe Surfaris (Ahhh, smell the ocean.)
Rescue MeFontella Bass (A tidal wave.)

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