Did the Beach Boys have it right?
At this year’s SGIA Expo in New Orleans, I ran into the owner of small print shop who was espousing the virtues of his new printer (manufacturer and model withheld just because I’m feeling ornery this morning). It wasn’t until after we had finished our chat and had gone our separate ways that I noted that the shop owner had referred to his new prize possession not as “it,” but as “she” throughout the conversation.
Now, cars, ships, and planes—all forms of transportation-- have been referred to with female pronouns for as long as I can remember. Heck, I grew up listening to the Beach Boys, including “Little Deuce Coupe” (uh, the Brian Wilson version, by the way, not the lobotomized Tom Cruise version in War of the Worlds), so referring to cars as “she” is second nature to me (and, I suspect, my generation). I didn’t grow up with ships (or boats) or planes, so I’ll have to defer to those of you who might have done so with regards to these transport types.
But this was the first time I had come across a printer being referred to in that way. And I wonder if I’ve been missing a trend? And if so, what are the nuances of this nomenclature? Are only certain types of printers referred to as “she”—aqueous and mild-solvent perhaps? Do traditional solvent printers receive the “he” designation? And where does that leave photo printers…hmmmm. Or perhaps it all depends upon whether the owner/operator is male or female? Maybe you women shop owners/operators refer to your printers as “he”—I’m sure that inquiring minds out there would like to know.
In the end, of course, the important thing is not whether you call your machine “she,” “he,” “Mary” or even “Fred” when you come into work in the morning, but—just like most other things in life—how you treat it. Get properly trained on it, maintain it from the day it comes into your shop, and don’t abuse it, and you should be able to generate not only prints but also profits for years to come.
Can a new printer you signed on the dotted line for at SGIA be your “little deuce coupe”? I don’t see why not. But will she do one hundred and forty with the top end floored?