Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Growing Up Printing A, Bs & Cs

I grew up around my family-owned printing company. From the time I was a teeny little rug rat until the time the company closed about 8 years ago I spent time there. I loved going to the office because the minute I walked in the front door, I was immersed in the smell of ink and the alcohol used to clean parts on the printing presses. The clatter of the machines didn't bother me one bit. It was comforting.

The company had large printing machines that used huge rolls of paper. When the paper would get down to a certain level, the operators would remove that roll and insert another one. The "empty" rolls still had quite a bit of paper left on them so I always took them to school to use for art projects and stuff. I always felt super special/cool because I could contribute lots of paper rolls. Another cool thing about the spent rolls was that they used to have wooden cores in the middle and cool things could be done with them, too. The guys that used to work in the print shop used to call the wooden cores "a**holes".  I got a kick out of thait because 1) they said the word "a**hole" and 2) because when I wanted some to play with, I could ask for them and say the word "a**hole" to a grown man and not get into trouble! That was a big deal to a little kid. I wonder who came up with that term for them? I think it was sheer genius.

When I was really young, one of the pressmen told me a story about a man (not sure who the employee was - he was just described as "a man") who accidentally got his hand caught in one of the rollers on the press and it yanked the skin right off of his hand. Supposedly, the hand was around the shop somewhere, floating in a jar of alcohol. I always wanted to find it and look at it but it was elusive and never turned up in my 40 years of going there.

My Dad had a parrot named Governor who was really loud so he ended up putting Governor's cage in the press room. That dang bird could scream his heart out and no one would object. It was funny to walk in the front door of the office and hear printing presses clacking, then hear a really loud parrot yelling over all of the noise. I think Governor was in hog um parrot heaven back there. He was probably high all of the time because of the strength of the alcohol fumes! He was also probably yelling because he wanted someone to show him the skin glove and no one would.

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