I attended middle school with a guy who became one of my best friends. I hadn’t seen him since high school, and so when he called me out of the blue the other day while I was at work, it brought back some good memories.
Joe had an usual business that he started when he was in middle school, and it was one of the most ingenious showings of young entrepreneurship I had ever seen to that point in my life. Joe rented out pens, pencils, protractors, rulers, and you could even get loose leaf paper from him, for a price.
They way Joe would get paid by his fellow students was by charging people by the “class period” a certain price for each item borrowed. There were seven classes a day when we were in middle school, and if you didn’t return the item “borrowed” on time, there would be an additional penalty to pay.
Joe didn’t charge money for the things he lent out. No, the school probably would have put a stop to it anyway. Joe would charge you sheets of loose leaf paper, and he kept a careful record of each transaction.
If you borrowed something, and didn’t return it on time, he would know about it and charge you extra sheets of paper. His ledger sheets were impeccable.
It was about three sheets of loose leaf paper to borrow a pen for one period, if memory serves me correctly, or something like that. A pencil could be gotten a little cheaper, maybe two sheets of paper per “period.” It was pure genius, and he had a thriving business. He had more paper than any kid I knew.
I’m not sure what Joe did with all of the loose leaf paper he collected from us. Maybe he still has it. Next time I speak with him, I’m going to ask. He may still be using the stuff, he’s an accountant now. I’m picturing his garage filled with loose leaf paper, stacked right next to the lawnmower.
So we talked back and forth a bit the other day when he called my office, and we agreed that we’d get together sometime for dinner. It’s a bit of a drive, but I have a feeling it will be well worth it.
As we were saying goodbye, Joe told me not to forget that I still owed him some loose leaf paper. Knowing Joe the way I do, it wouldn’t surprise me if he still had records to prove it. I’ll be sure to stop by the Stationery Store before I see him.