Letterpress List No. 42: Common Scents

Come July and August, Baltimore is a pretty grim place to be if you don’t like humidity.

Shop Boy doesn’t like humidity. (Nor, as we have discussed, does he care for some residents of Baltimore that do.)

“Is that you?” Mary asked, wrinkling up her nose.

“What?” Shop Boy asked defensively. “Look, it’s been a long day, if that’s what you mean.”

Mary should have been born a bloodhound. Dang. She gets a whiff of something out of the ordinary, she’s gonna find out what the heck it is. Shop Boy even uses, ahem, special French soap that Mary buys because she likes the smell. That doesn’t by itself make me a wimp, by the way.

True story: One newspaper that Shop Boy worked for had renovated its restrooms and installed those scent boxes that release a puff of perfume every couple of minutes. So it was that Shop Boy returned home one night and almost immediately was getting strange looks from Mary. Apparently, a molecule or two of the eau de brothel had stuck to my clothing. It wasn’t until I brought Mary to work and made her hang out in the women’s restroom that she fully bought Shop Boy’s innocence.


See, Mary will tell anyone who’ll listen her rules for dealing with a straying husband: He dies. The lover? “Hey, we all make mistakes, right? Get out, hon. You don’t want to see this.”

Shop Boy prefers being alive to the alternative, so … there you go.

Of course, Mary’s parents will also tell anyone who’ll listen that if Mary ever dumps Shop Boy, they’ll find me someone better. Kind of a mutually assured destruction type of deal. Besides, Mary and Shop Boy apparently like each other or something. Who knew?

Anyhow, I’m willing to accept that, as a male member of the species, Shop Boy can get a little funky. After this three-day printshop schedule — Friday: 9 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Saturday: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Sunday: 10 a.m.-1:30 a.m. — you might be a touch … unfresh as well.

This time, though, it wasn’t me.

After sniffing every single item in the Typecast Press printshop (swear to god), Mary finally produced a humidity-warped sheet of the thick paper we were using to print a really cool wedding invitation and stuck it under Shop Boy’s nose.

“Smell this … it’s horrible.

“No, thank you,” Shop Boy answered. “I’ll take your word for it.”

Oh, once they dried, the invites were fresh as a daisy. But we were a bit traumatized.

The wedding’s in Oregon.

Did I happen to mention that it’s a little moist in Oregon most times of year?


Letterpress List No. 42 (a little early, to beat the holiday weekend)

How about an hour’s worth of music to fill your heart with love, tempt your nostrils with the scent of flowers and wipe any, um, stray thoughts from that simple mind of yours. Most of these tunes should be available in the usual places. Goofy and great video links are to YouTube.

That SmellLynyrd Skynyrd (You fool, you.)
You Oughta KnowAlanis Morissette (A subtle reminder.)
Guilty ConscienceEminem (Favorite part: “Mr. Dre … Mr. NWA … Mr. AK coming Straight Outta Compton, you’re gonna make way?”)
TemptedSqueeze (So not …)
I Think I Smell RatWhite Stripes (Mary once called Baltimore Gas & Electric to report the smell of a gas leak. There was a small leak, BGE said. On the other side of the city.)
Da FunkDaft Punk (Funky.)
Don’t Let’s StartThey Might Be Giants (“I don’t get around how you get around.”)
RosesOutkast (Just playin’.)
Rough JusticeRolling Stones (You’re gonna have to trust me.)
Nearly Lost You Screaming Trees (Not in a million years.)
Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights)Pat Travers Band (For more reasons than that.)
You Know I’m No GoodAmy Winehouse (She ain’t, apparently, but she sure can sing.)
Ball and ChainSocial Distortion (Ha!)
The OneFoo Fighters (She is.)
Scentless ApprenticeNirvana (Sorry. Been a long day.)
It Wasn’t MeShaggy (Deny everything.)
True BlueMadonna (Have to ask the New York Yankees’ third baseman about that one.)
Not That Kind Anastasia (Don’t get on the wrong side of that voice.)
ThinkAretha Franklin (This one either.)
Goodbye Earl the Dixie Chicks (The Mary Mashburn seal of approval.)

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