#104 Time & Time Again

 104 Time & Time Again
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Know anyone who screws up, arrives late, forgets something…time & time again?

Amper­Art #104, Time & Time Again, is about those peo­ple. The term could just as eas­i­ly refer to a car that just won’t start first thing in the morn­ing, or a com­put­er pro­gram that keeps crash­ing, but it usu­al­ly refers to peo­ple — & espe­cial­ly neg­a­tive instances such as always being late, for­get­ting to stop at the clean­ers, or get­ting the facts wrong. Time & Again could also have been the title, but Time & Time Again just sounds so much more wor­thy of a good rep­ri­mand or pink slip.

See the scenario?

This Amper­Art design, #104 Time & Time Again, presents a com­mon sce­nario, espe­cial­ly in the work­place. Can you fig­ure it out? Well, I know you can because only the bright­est peo­ple sub­scribe to Amper​Art​.com, and that means you. But if you’re in a hur­ry here’s the answer:

Sce­nario: In Amper­Art #104, Time & Time Again, there is a “team” of amper­sands, com­prised of 5 mem­bers: red, blue, green, yel­low, pur­ple. Each row of amper­sands rep­re­sents a group meet­ing. As you can see, all are present at every meet­ing except one of the team, Mr. Red. He shows up now & then, miss­ing most meet­ings time & time again.


That meant I was in trou­ble. Oth­er­wise I was “Char­lie” or more recent­ly “Chaz.” I’m also called “Chuck,” “Char” & “Hey Ass­hole” but nev­er Charles, unless I’ve been a bad, bad boy. I can still hear Mom rep­ri­mand­ing me: “I’ve told you time & time again!” Was I try­ing out my new Cray­olas on the walls again? Who knows, but the phrase still rings clear in my memory.

The dreaded pink slip

Time & time again an employ­ee is late or does a lousy job, until they are “canned,” “let go,” or “giv­en the pink slip,” all of which mean you’re fired! (No, the pink slip does­n’t mean you’re giv­en the title to a new car for being late.)

"I'm what?!!"The “pink slip” has become a metonym for the ter­mi­na­tion of employ­ment in gen­er­al. Accord­ing to an arti­cle in The New York Times, the edi­tors of the Ran­dom House Dic­tio­nary have dat­ed the term to at least as ear­ly as 1910.¹

The phrase most like­ly orig­i­nat­ed in vaude­ville. When the Unit­ed Book­ing Office (estab­lished in 1906) would issue a can­cel­la­tion notice to an act, the notice was on a pink slip (“The Argot of Vaude­ville Part I” New York Times, Dec. 16, 1917, p.X7.) Anoth­er pos­si­ble ety­mol­o­gy is that many appli­ca­tions (includ­ing ter­mi­na­tion papers) are done in trip­li­cate form, with each copy on a dif­fer­ent col­or of paper, one of which is typ­i­cal­ly pink.¹

In the UK & Ire­land the equiv­a­lent of a pink slip is a P45; in Bel­gium the equiv­a­lent is known as a C4

Anoth­er theory:

The very ear­li­est exam­ple we have is where a pink slip is a note sent to a typog­ra­ph­er indi­cat­ing that he’s made a mis­take. If he got enough of them then he would be fired. Yet anoth­er inter­me­di­ate one in 1905 where a pink slip is specif­i­cal­ly a rejec­tion let­ter from a mag­a­zine. So a writer would sub­mit a sto­ry, & it would get a pink slip back, mean­ing that the sto­ry was reject­ed. So clear­ly there is some­thing going on at around this time where pink slip is being used to refer to var­i­ous kinds of rejection.²

The term is an Amer­i­can­ism. In oth­er coun­tries they have dif­fer­ent col­ors to refer to dis­missal from a job. In Ger­many the expres­sion is to get the blue let­ter. In the French mil­i­tary, you would be dis­missed with a yel­low paper, carte jaune. ²

So typog­ra­phers were giv­en the pink slip? Time & time again I’ve issued the mon­th’s Amper­Art just under the wire. Bet­ter get this edi­tion out on time before I’m canned.

Please comment here.


chaz sez ...

Check out the new “chaz sez” blog at Des​i​moneDesign​.com, my com­mer­cial graph­ic design web­site. It’s most­ly about design, typog­ra­phy, print­ing, pub­lish­ing & mar­ket­ing, but on occa­sion I’ll divert to a side­ways top­ic that just can’t escape my rant­i­ng & raving.

Production notes for #104 Time & Time Again:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Program: Adobe Illustrator
Font family: Gill Sans
Ampersand: Gill Sans
Reference text (verbatim & edited):
¹Wikipedia https://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​P​i​n​k​_​s​l​i​p​_​(​e​m​p​l​o​y​m​ent)

²Jesse Sheidlower is an editor-​at-​large of the Oxford English Dictionary. From https://​www​.mar​ket​place​.org/​2​0​0​9​/​0​4​/​0​9​/​w​o​r​l​d​/​t​r​a​c​i​n​g​-​o​r​i​g​i​n​-​p​i​n​k​-​s​lip
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