Three Times the Charm

You could almost see the gears spinning in the little fellow’s head.

It was birthday No. 3 for Evan, the adorable-beyond-mortal-words son of friends Curt and Amanda Iseli, and he was taking it all very seriously. He called Shop Boy over and, as he perched on his pint-sized chair, feet on the seat, bottom on the arm, looked me square in the eye.

He wanted to know what Shop Boy thought about cake. Not the band. Everyone knows my weakness there too well. Evan had reached some existential passage in his young life and was apparently seeking a spiritual guide to get him through the portal to a deeper understanding of the chocolaty deliciousness.

And then he tipped over.

That quickly, a lesson in gravity superseded the quest for baked-goods enlightenment as Curt picked Evan up and dusted him off — no tears, the little dude playing it off like a 10-year-old or something, a swig of lemonade taking his mind off the whole incident. Meanwhile,  Shop Boy used the opportunity to grab a honking turkey burger from Curt’s grill. Thank goodness for vegetarians with absolutely no clue about meat portions. Yum.

Typecast had done the invite for the party for the third year in a row, with Amanda Iseli doing the extravagant design. She does great work for Baltimore magazine, but saves a little of the good stuff for Evan’s birthday parties. Boxes, seed packets, goodie bags, cards inside of cards. Wow. All we then have to do is figure out how to apply ink to all these weird things.

For No. 3, the main invite is cut from this crazy, thick cardboard stuff Mary bought in bulk — you think the turkey burgers were bigger than absolutely necessary? — the gargantuan, heavy pile of which we’ve been whittling away at. Anyway, a little blue ink on there with the right design and … it looks just like the printing on an egg carton. Fun!

Well, this year, Evan is apparently old enough that he got a vote on the card design. So the Iselis stopped by the Typecast Press studios, where, as Shop Boy fed menus to the big C&P, Evan became fixated on the machine’s old gears. And somehow, as the guy who made all those gears move at once, Shop Boy suddenly acquired rock star status. (It’s fleeting. They all grow up.)

I suppose it’d have been more stunning had the little boy not been mesmerized by the machine, as he’s third-generation gearhead. Hot rods, that is.

Mary: “What are those three big rusty motor things in the garage?”

Curt: “Oh! Those are [gearhead-speak] flathead motors that I picked up from a guy. I bought one, and ended up hauling all three back here. I hope to trade them for [gearhead-speak] and [gearhead-speak] with [gearhead-speak].”


Evan’s not quite there yet. His pick for the coolest car in the Typecast Press parking lot? Mary’s crummy, old, dented Volvo.

Shop Boy about fell over backwards.

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