Monday, April 13, 2009

Take Your Daughter to Work Day Gone Wrong

© 2009 Leighann Lord

Okay, call me shallow but my favorite news story last week was about the man who had his nine-year-old daughter with him as he robbed a convenience store. Are baby sitters that expensive? I guess the only bright side to this story is that the kid wasn’t holding the gun and Dad didn’t leave her in the car with the windows rolled up.

I loved going to work with my Dad. He had an office, a gigantic desk and a large leather chair on wheels. "Gentlemen start your engines." He was the head of the New York City Fire Department’s in-house print shop, known then as The Reproduction Unit. Even now I get a little wistful remembering the roar of the big printing presses, the smell of ink, moveable type and T-squares. As a consequence I can engage in the great debates: ragged right vs. justified; serif vs. sans serif. Should you eliminate widows by editing text or adjusting kerning? Is Helvetica the answer to everything?

I think my Dad enjoyed taking me to work with him. I was a quiet kid who did as I was told and didn’t bother anybody. I guess that’s why he didn’t think twice when he left me alone in his office once to dash out to a last minute meeting. I knew not to do anything crazy like answer the phone or open the window, but as a budding neat freak the sky high piles on my Dad’s desk and floor were just too tempting to ignore.

So while he was out I did a little straightening up. I organized the stacks according to color and height, making sure the piles were neat and straight. When that was done, I gathered up all the paper clips and hooked them together creating the longest ever stationery supply necklace. I thought if they were all together they’d always be easy to find.

I was happily spinning around in my Dad’s desk chair when he got back to the office. I can’t quite describe the look on his face as he took in all the improvements I had made. I’ll bet he wished he’d left me in the car.

This nine-year-old girl’s memory of going to work with her Dad will be as traumatic as mine is happy. I’m guessing he’ll be getting his Father’s Day card in prison. Might I suggest something in a Helvetica?

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