map Font

by Robert Walikis

Published in Issue No. 289 ~ June, 2021

Father, to Mother, enthused, “Envision a polyvinyl banner, quick-printed and shipped overnight, hung from the Camelot Castle monkey bars of our community park. The banner will read: ‘Happy Birthday Son, You’re Three!’ The font must be perfect! Not so perfect as our Son, but the banner typeface must provide the simile of perfection and a wafting of the transcendental sublime. Yes, there should, within the slope and serifs, cluster inferred transcendence and a peck of perfection which scatters and falls about on the wind, like our son’s leaves thrown aloft on a cool Autumn’s day. A font-swell of North-by-Northwest currents, riding a heaven-sent plume of sublimity.”


“Are you positive,” Mother countered, “perfection? The foundry,” she mused, “should be rugged. As a well-worn tractor in a ramshackle barn starts on the coldest Winter’s day, the foundry of our font’s forging must exude and embody a deep rugged state, like our son’s faux-weathered designer tot-ware. No sub-zero temperature would slow down the chapped coffee-warmed hands of the flanneled typographer working amidst the early morning shadows of his chorus of design inspirations: aged flaking plowshares and metal casts born in blue hot fires, hanging from nails on wooden walls, peering down. Our typographer, calm and centered, sits between his 46-inch LCD displays, aligning high-magnification curves on the high-resolution screens. The production of type families, now being encoded into sharpened RGB images, is a process about which most people have amassed a less-than-perfect understanding. We all just want the finished product.”


“Are you sure,” Father balked, “ruggedness? Rather, I prefer thoughtful. Too few fonts are mindful, thankful for the audience’s attention. Think of the family member who never intrudes, always remembers, seldom overstays. Our type choice would imbue our party with an eternal state of loving consciousness. As Spring turns the world warm, so shall our font, glowing brightly with giddiness, like our son’s over-bred puppy. Still, it shall be respectful of its readers, genuflecting and bleating in sweet, dulcet tones.”


“Are you certain,” Mother cringed, “thoughtful? The typeface needs to be forceful: one too meek or coy embarrasses the reader. Think of catching your second cousins twice removed in a state of furtive undress at Summer’s annual family reunion. As our son’s vaunted preschool pedigree does, so too will our banner font garner attention, demanding respect with its heavyweight demeanor, indomitable strength, and paternalistic gravitas.”


“Fine points you make,” Father conceded. “So Mother, let us choose such a typeface, a font well-forged and true to our needs.”


Seeing no such font in the Banner Knights ™ webpage menu, Father and Mother fell silent.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Regaling friends at the birthday party with their apt decision-making, Father and Mother justified their capitulation, “We supposed, while less enlightened, this would have to do.”


Chagrined, the monkey bars rang dull, hollow, as party children climbed. Muted tempos of palms, then fingers, did little to ease the bars’ nostalgia. It had been far too long since the bars of Camelot had borne the steely typeface of Galahad.


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Robert Walikis is a writer, playwright, poet, and songwriter. His work has appeared in Literary North and Barzakh. Rob graduated from Cornell University and lives in Irvine, California with his wife-partner-writer Diana Mullins. He makes maps and tells stories.