Letterpress List No. 45: A Clipped Answer

“Nice job on the menus, Shop Boy,” Mary said cheerfully. “What a huge pile you printed.”

Then she looked around.

“Um, Shop Boy … where’s the rest of the paper for … oh, no. That wasn’t for the menus!

Oh, boy.

True story: We lived in a small, brick-front bungalow on South Pearl Street in Denver. Great house. Along one side of the bungalow was a concrete path to the back yard. Along the other side was a path back to a locked gate to that same yard. In front of the gate was a bush — just a huge thing at the height of the season. Well, at one point Shop Boy became convinced that the dense greenery could potentially hide burglars or manglers or whatever — maybe even a jaguar. It was that lush.

I decided to trim it back just a bit.

You know how this goes, right? A little off here, a little off the other side to match it. A little off the top … wait, it’s uneven. A little more off this side, a little more off that side, a little more off the top. Geez. That doesn’t look right at all.

Our neighbor Elizabeth walked up just as Shop Boy had finally achieved perfect evenness.

“Hey, Cousin Bobby!” she chirped.

“Excuse me?” asked Shop Boy.

She explained that her aunt had one day asked a son, who was a bit “slow,” as they used to say, to trim the hedges. An hour later, she looked out the window and shrieked as she saw his handiwork: perfectly even stumps.

Mary arrived just as Elizabeth was finishing the story, took one look at what was left of the bush, looked at Shop Boy and began howling. Man, I thought I was going to have to dial 911. “It’s the plant that needs an ambulance, Cousin Bobby!” she squealed.

Anyway, I know Mary was thinking about that day in Denver as she looked at me and my menus that way in the printshop.

“You poor little man,” Mary whispered as she hugged Shop Boy. “It’s OK. Now we have a nice menu supply for the next emergency order. But it means we have to cut more paper.”

Talk about paying for your mistakes. The paper we use for the 12″ X 12″ Woodberry Kitchen menus is Neenah Environment. It’s a nice, sturdy, textured white paper that’s better for the planet than many papers and apparently repels simple spills, such as do happen in restaurants from time to time. It’s also a big pain to cut. And, dang, do they go through a lot of menus.

Each box of Environment contains 300 sheets — 26″ X 40″ — at oh, let’s say 500 pounds a box. OK, Shop Boy’s being dramatic. But it’s got to be 125 anyway. Carrying this stuff to the cutter, about 50 sheets at a time, is a big, clumsy assignment. So you should see the Fed Ex guy’s face when he shows up with two boxes of it, our usual order, having lugged it up the 15 stairs to the door of Typecast Press.

Bam! He tips the boxes off the dolly and they bang to the floor. “Sign it!” he barks, and then he stomps away.

Now the boxes are my problem. I look them over. No outward sign of distress. But with shipping paper, there’s always damage somewhere. Mary’s gotten so that she simply expects at least one bad corner.

“Just take a little off the top, Shop Boy … no, wait a minute.”


Letterpress List No. 45

How about an hour’s worth of music to seek balance — or just do a little yard work — by? Most of these tunes should be available in the usual places. Goofy and great video links are to YouTube.

Everything ZenBush (I don’t think so.)
Carry On Wayward SonKansas (Wait! Stop!)
I Don’t Feel Like DancingScissor Sisters (Not at all.)
Hip to Be SquareHuey Lewis and the News (It is, ahem, a rather cool menu.)
Hide and SeekImogen Heap (Of course, Shop Boy only meant well.)
CriminalFiona Apple (She could hide behind a fencepost.)
Stairway to HeavenLed Zeppelin (Um, ma’am? There’s apparently a bustle in your hedgerow.)
Jeepster T.Rex (“I’d call you jaguar if I may be so bold.”)
George of the Junglethe Presidents of the United States of America. (Watch out for that … um, it was just here a minute ago. Bobby!)
American Idiot Green Day (Only because it’s a great song, mind you.)
Eat to the BeatBlondie (I recommend the rockfish.)
Loser Beck (A termite choking on a splinter.)
Bad, Bad Leroy BrownJim Croce (A treetop lover.)
Girl U WantDevo (Hanging with Leroy.)
My City Was Gone the Pretenders (Where there was greenery, now only pavement.)
Lookin’ Out My Back DoorCreedence Clearwater Revival (Doo-doo-doo, d’oh!)
King of the Mountain Southern Culture on the Skids (“If your cousin comes ’round, be sure to give a holler.”)

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