Shop Boy is not much of a nag. Really, I try never to be. One place I make an exception is the hydraulic paper cutter. Safety is inefficient and, yes, a bit of a pain when you’re completing a long job with lots of separate cuts and piles of different shapes and lead edges and all that to mind. But you only get two hands and 10 fingers. And you only get them once.

Mary has become a bit too comfortable with this machine for my own comfort level, letting her hands stray beneath the blade and clamp as she works to jog the paper into uniform piles. This is not optimal or, as we like to say at Typecast, “noptimal.”

Shop Boy brings this up because twice in recent weeks Mary has run pell-mell from the cutter into the bathroom because …

She has waited too long to go to the bathroom.

And I have dropped whatever I’m working on and dashed in behind her because …

That run has meant blood in the past.

Now, Shop Boy has shed some red blood cells and platelets at the cutter. Always, it’s from paper cuts. I’ll absentmindedly slide my hand along the stack or I’ll slip as I’m loading in oversized sheets and … oh, jeez, you’d swear the paper was made of sharpened steel instead of cotton. Paper cuts are the worst, right?

Well, Mary has tangled with the actual cutter blade.


And we should leave it at that for the squeamish among us, like Shop Boy.

So her delight at the arrival of a cutting die that makes fancy-colored envelope liners—rather than use a half-baked jig and a whole lot of body English to finagle an angled edge on the big cutter—was no match for my own. Not even close. Yes, I’ve almost wet my own pants watching her hands work beneath the blade.

The cutting die is a start.




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2 Responses to “Digits”

  1. Jim & Doris Ullrich Says:

    How I miss the smell of a printing plant.

    • Steve St. Angelo Says:

      Nothing beats the scent of retirement, buddy. And electric trains. And good deeds. The world needs you right where you’re at, sir.

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