Friday, March 15, 2013

How the Pope Affected My Life
Printing is weird. It has it's own measuring systems and those aren't universal or even constant. Points, picas and the worst - columns…
Back in the 70s I worked at an engraving shop. The owner was raised Baptist in West Virginia but wasn't much of a practitioner. His wife was in volved in, as his brother told me, "that church, if you can even call it a church…", or, as most people refer to it, the Catholic Church. I was raised Presbo.
So, the local Catholic chapter had a newsletter that was printed letterpress & Charlie did engravings for 'em for free. One day they brought in a photo of the new pope, John Paul I & gave me dimensions for the halftone measured in columns. I had to ask what the hell a column was & I set out to determine the size of the reproduction. It worked out to about 10x12". Kinda big, but it was the head of the church & it was a church publication, so, ok….. I made the halftone, passed it off to Charlie's "if you can call it a church" brother & he made the big ass plate.
When the printer received the plate he said something along the lines of WTF?!? He came back and admitted he had given us the wrong info, apologized and asked us to make another smaller plate. We did, but only after Charlie screamed at me for making an obviously oversized halftone. The printer was somehow blameless, Charlie's brother was somehow blameless - it was the kid's fault.
The thing about this pope was, he was only in office a few weeks when he died. So, about a month later, we had a new request for an engraving of the pope's, John Paul II, picture for this newsletter. Much fact checking this time around.
I was so young & so ignorant of Catholic affairs, I remember thinking, "How often do these guys get new popes? Are they all called Paul? How often are e going to go through this?"
Anyway, everybody mentioned in this story, including the engraving shop, is dead.

No comments: