The Life of Pi

A printer's tale

This is the sad tail of Peter and Piper at the "Peter and Piper Press" in Portland. Peter was a young pressman at the PPP who worked very hard. Running the presses single handily was hard work. There were the usual jobs: printing invitations, envelopes, business cards, letterhead and such, but their main business was printing the weekly Portland "Pie". The "Pie" explored unique slices of life about the people and events in the Portland area. If you wanted to know what was happening in Portland, you picked up the "Pie".

You may be wondering about Piper? What does she do? Honestly, nothing, she is the mostly silent partner, but she carefully watches Peter all day to make sure nothing goes wrong. Piper seems to always know when Peter is about to make a mistake. Usually, before that happens she will say so with a loud MEEOOW. At this point you are realizing that Piper is a cat, a black and gray tiger, to be precise. So Peter and Piper make an excellent team.

Most days were pretty normal, the shop started humming around 8am and wound down by 5pm. Peter always put out bowls of food and water for Piper, made sure her cat napping area was clean and then started preparing for the day's work. Piper spent most of the day pacing and jumping along the upper shelves, that way she could survey the whole shop and keep an eye on Peter while staying out of the way. Today was Tuesday, which meant it was the day the chases were set for printing the Pie. Wednesday was printing day, on Thursday the papers were assembled and delivered to the Portland Pie offices and they hit the news stand by Friday.

When Peter was an apprentice, he learned his print master's golden rule


He has he always followed these steps:

  1. Compose it
  2. Frame it
  3. Check it twice
  4. Lock it thrice
  5. Put it to bed once

Not since his apprenticeship has Peter seen any Pi!

It was mid-morning and this edition of the Pie was 5 pages. So 5 chases needed to be set and shelved for printing the following day. Peter had finished the first page; it was composed, framed, checked, tightened and stored. Peter and was working on page two. He had composed, framed and checked it twice and tightened it once. When suddenly the bell hanging on the door loudly rang as Sally Sumner came rushing in. She had forgotten to order invitations for her daughter, Suzy-Jo's 16th birthday bash and was now in a panic. Peter knew something was up, and stopped immediately. It took nearly two hours to work everything out, for the invitation design, RSVP cards, envelopes, etc. But finally Sally left feeling better and knowing Peter would do a fantastic job and promised to be done in time.

Peter had a smile but had quite forgotten what he was doing, suddenly realizing he was behind schedule, and starting thinking about page three as he returned to page two and began picking it up to store it away. Piper knew immediately a mistake was about to be made, Peter forgot "tighten it thrice", she jumped to the floor and ran up behind him letting out a loud MEOW! Peter didn't hear her, stepping and turning backwards, Peter tripped and fell over Piper and the framed chase went flying straight up into the air.

Peter yelled S H I T!

Peter landed without the chase, then the chase landed on Piper's tail.

Piper yelled M E O U C H !

There was Pi everywhere!

In the beginning I said this was a sad tail, it wasn't a typo, the chase landed on Piper's tail, cutting it right in half. Luckily Piper survived, and from that day forward people called her Pi.

The End

David Gray