A number of times each week in my nightly prowl as a Pre-Press Production guy for the newspaper I get the glorious duty of physically making the plates that go onto the presses. I don't enjoy this more than editing the comics, puzzles, designing ads or cropping and manipulating photos so that moronic editors have a pic to go with their garble garble swish swish spit.
It, it's just about mindless enough to let my attention wander. OK, OK...it's pure Monotony and the same movements for anywhere between 100 and 250 plates. The plates themselves are 1ml, aluminum about two feet long, and about a foot and 1/2 wide, they have scum on one side (it's scum..no one told the proper name for the chemical goop), and the other side is shiny metal goodness. In the process each plate gets to take a ride in two different machines after having a negative fixed to it, and blasted by UV light. The light incidentally makes one particular spot on my sleeveless arms get tan. I believe there is a light leak in the housing of the machine, but who's to say ten years down the road I won't want to sue them for giving me wrist cancer and ride the good life from then on out. Of course I could look; but I don't want to go blind, I wouldn't sue the place for that, I would burn it down once I taught my brand spankin' new seeing eye puppy how to strike matches. Anyway, monotony was flowing marvelously this evening and I was pondering I don't know what?! At the end the second machine the plates end their ride to production quality and I get to unceremoniously label them so the yellow doesn't make it into the magenta's place, displacing the Cyan and utterly making the black plates irate. The paper would look funky sir, if the whole damned thing was solarized.
At this point in the process, I get to handle the plates after they drop out of the machine...the plates are nuclear hot, I guess the second machine has an oven in it that bakes the scum...again it has some significant UV lighting beaming out of it and I'm not going to take a peak. The light is angled low enough so that my arms aren't getting hit. It does..shine on my package, so perhaps in ten years time I can sue the paper for genetically altering my wang and giving me the option to not only work as a porn sound boom operator but also participate in the filming on the naughty end of the camera.
Hot metal, 2 feet long 1ml thick, it stands to reason that these things are sharp, in fact, they are very sharp. I've been lucky enough to this point to only have to patch myself up with smaller bandaides ( of which I carry all the time anyway... you know me? you know I bundy myself without abandon for no apparent reason) Basically if you look at the plate the wrong way it's going to get upset and slice you open. This evening I was zoned out as usual, it may have been near plate 174 or so and I dropped one. "It was Hot, that I already told you", it's sharp...that I already told you, by the size they're a bit akward to handle, you can infer that.
And what ladies and gentlemen, is the basic human reaction when you drop something, whether you're paying attention or not? ( Not taking into account that each of these razor sharp aluminum carving sheets costs $12)
That's right, you Freakin' snap back to reality and realize that you're gonna lop your damned hands off if you catch the nuclear hot friggin plate as it drops to the floor...you spontaneously have Bee Gee's music piping in your melon and you do a John Travolta-esque disco inferno boogie oogie oogie move out of the damned way, then shift right, point in the air and say "catch you on the flip side groovy momma" to the plate as it cleaves into the toe of your leather boot, remaining under the table left there for pure style only.
Move => BUSTED!