X-Actly Wrong

Pretty packaging can make clients fall in love with your work before they even open the box.

(They, ahem, of course fall in love with it all over again when they do open it.)

So it’s great that Mary’s got a knack for taking the simplest of boxes and dressing it to the nines with double-stick tape, pretty handmade paper, a cutting board and …

Oh, geez, the X-Acto.

“She’s got a knife!”

Shop Boy shouts this, Hawaii 5-0 like, each time Mary picks up a sharp object, whether in the kitchen or the printshop. See, Mary’s brain works at 500 times the speed of light. OK, maybe a little quicker than that. As a result, she has sometimes moved on mentally before she’s finished with a task at, um, hand.

Harsh reminders can follow. Oh, not from Shop Boy. She just waves me off (often forgetting that the blade is in her hand — Shop Boy’s careful to remain beyond the circle of danger). Nope. These reminders are ones she gives to herself. The latest went about halfway through her thumb.


Thank heavens for Powerpuff Girls and Hot Wheels bandages. What, your printshop doesn’t have either? Get them. Nothing promotes faster healing than sticking a picture of a muscle car on the boo-boo. Just saying.

Now Mary’s got a painful wound that’s going to take forever to close up. That’ll learn her.

Not that Shop Boy’s that much of one to talk.

True story: One day, Shop Boy was wrestling with a package of steak knives we’d bought. You know how they wrap things like this these days, between hard plastic, molded forms melted together at the seams? Nearly impenetrable. Well, when scissors wouldn’t cut though the packaging, Shop Boy figured — in the interest of safety — that it would best to close the scissors and use the point to simply poke a hole in the plastic and go in from there. Didn’t want to muscle up, yank from both sides and have the package suddenly fly apart. Steak knives are sharp, you know.

Did I mention the plastic packaging is also slippery.

Now, I don’t know how to begin to spell or punctuate the sound that was coming from my mouth. But Mary came running to the top of the stairs and called out, “Are you OK?”

“Oh, Mary … I did something …”

She came running down the stairs to find me at the sink, scissors stuck almost all the way through my left hand. Yes, that stings.

“Pull it out,” Mary said.

“I’m afraid to,” Shop Boy whimpered. But I did. Then we both just sort of started laughing. (OK, we’re weird.)

Dr. Love was pretty unimpressed. (Yes, that was her name. As a Kiss fan — be quiet! — I thought the only thing cooler would have been if I had arrived at the clinic spitting blood.) But she patched me up, gave me antibiotics to prevent infection in the bone I’d stabbed, and told me to be smarter next time.

And Shop Boy’s learned. Believe me. Now, when I come across similar packaging, Shop Boy plays it extra safe. I hold the plastic package in one hand and a .38 revolver in the other, and …

Just kidding.

Anyway, you’d think Mary would be a little more careful with tools that can cut after her latest brush with a bleed-out.

So there she was a day or two later, screwdriver in one hand, tub of black ink in the other. She was using the screwdriver to try to pop off the lid. But rather than use the twist-slide, twist-slide method to slowly loosen the lid by working all the way around it, she was trying to force the lid off in one movement with pure pressure. And, naturally, the screwdriver slipped and just missed puncturing the wrist of her opposite hand.

Shop Boy: “Mary! Come on!”

Mary: “I do it this way all the time. Besides, I didn’t cut myself.”

Shop Boy (taking the tool): “Next time you might. And you’ll die, alone, on this floor — which I haven’t vacuumed, by the way. … Look, just place the flat edge of the screwdriver beneath the lid’s edge, turn it, then slide it a little and turn it again.”

Mary: “See? It’s not working … oh.”

The lid popped off.

Mary: “That takes too long.”

Calling Dr. Love … calling Dr. Love.

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