Summer Games 2008: Clean, Jerk

All the hype leading up to next month’s Olympic Games in Beijing got Shop Boy thinking.

No, not about the 10-kilometer open-water swimming event. I try not to think about human beings splashing around in Chinese lakes or bays. Know what I mean? Ewww! (Remember, this is the nation that, lacking park land, spray-painted large swaths of concrete green to look like grassy meadows to the Olympic inspectors flying overhead. Maybe they’ll just dump blue ink into the polluted water.)

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about the Olympian effort it takes to set up and run a letterpress printshop: from buying, begging, borrowing and stealing the tools of the trade to getting everything in top shape — and keeping it there. Heavy lifting, for sure.

See, Shop Boy has this hang-up — surprise! — about a clean shop. I feel like we’ve worked too hard to give Mary a nice, neat, even pretty place to work not to get a little twitchy looking around at the current state of affairs. Dirty galley trays we’ve acquired sitting in crooked stacks behind the Miehle Vertical. A Vandercook No. 4 still awaiting its top-to-bottom, inside-and-out restoration job. A rusted rattletrap of a turtle (a rolling steel table). Not to mention the dust bunnies and spiderwebs. And piles of paper … who knows what is in there?

I know what you’re saying: It’s a stinking printshop, for crying out loud!

Understood. But it’s my stinking printshop — OK, Mary’s — and so Shop Boy feels crummy anytime I let the little messes become bigger ones.

Which brings us to the Shop Boy 2008 Summer Games in Baltimore.

Events you’re likely to find me competing in come August:

  • Tray-athlon: The world record for de-rusting and then cleaning a tray is five minutes. My personal best is 15 minutes. There are 70 trays. Do the math.
  • Equestrian: In which an irritated, sweaty, tired Shop Boy — on tray No. 52, say — gets a little horsey.
  • Clean and Jerk: Since the Vandercook’s placed too close to the wall, contestants in this event must lean across the No. 4’s bed, one foot on the ground and arms dangling, to clean the back side. Then, a team of six must yank and push the 1,600-pound press into its permanent position.
  • Synchronized Swearing: Involves stringing together four-letter words in rapid succession. Shop Boy was a silver medalist in 2004. (Mary beat me by this &%$#-ing much.)
  • Hammer Throw: Duck.
  • Decaf-lon: Ordered by Mary, Shop Boy makes an all-out effort to chill.
  • Beer Run: Up the street and back. Ah, runner’s high.
  • Uneven Parallel Universe: Shop Boy realizes he’s being a nut … and goes home to take a nap.

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One Response to “Summer Games 2008: Clean, Jerk”

  1. Lou Says:

    I much prefer this style of Olympics any day!

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