Odd #11: Recycling can lead to all sorts of entrepreneurial ventures.

by teresalaynebennett

photo of basket filled with paper to be recycled

Recycling paper (or anything) is an OLD idea.

Warning: if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, get ready to recognize that you, too, are ODD. But then, you may already know that deep down inside and simply have been indulging in denial as you’ve read about all my oddities and said to yourself “thank goodness I’m not like her!”

But, as I’ll keep saying, the oddest amongst us can learn and pass on pay-attention lessons that are of value even to the not-so-odd. This blog post gives you more than your money’s worth in pay-attention lessons, FYI.

Every summer before The Best-Ever Christmas, Mother would shoo me outside to get “some fresh air and sunshine” (her favorite cheerleading topics). Personally, I thought fresh air was overvalued. She, however, was convinced that fresh air and sunshine would be good for her bookworm daughter.

I intuitively figured she was wrong, wrong, wrong. Remember the melanin-deficiency thing? Even though I didn’t understand why, I knew the sun sapped my energy and made me want to take a nap. A nap! Ick. Anything was preferable to taking a nap in the middle of the day, especially at my grown-up age. I was so beyond the whole nappy thing.

Being infinitely more in touch with my body than she, my fiendishly clever strategy was to quietly dawdle in my room. Eventually, though, she’d work out that I was still in the house and forcibly shoo me outdoors. In her frustration, she sometimes resorted – depending on how long I’d been inside resisting her commands – to latching the screen doors behind me. (Did this ever happen to you? See? More oddity.)

The summer after The Best-Ever Christmas, when Mother started her cheerleading, I was ready for my enforced prescription of fresh-air-and-sunshine. Yessirr. I marched pertly past her without so much as a whimper with my attaché (cleverly disguised as my red-and-yellow-plaid book bag) and an old blanket tucked under my arm. Taking a sharp left, I headed for my favorite shady spot in the yard.

Mother, bless her soul, was left at the door – trout-mouthed – as I purposefully marched out like the woman on a mission that I was. Pay attention: here’s proof she was bumfuzzled. She forgot to latch the screen door behind me.

Spiraea Bush & Associates

Settling myself in the shade of an ancient spiraea bush in a comfy little corner made by the house walls, I spread the old blanket. (Even my nine-year-old, very odd mind sensed that asking clients to sit on bare dirt smacked of the worst sort of unprofessionalism.) Opening my “attache,” I began organizing my piles of catalogs, magazines, papers, envelopes and, of course, the stack of precious carbon paper – all valuable resources my profligate father had been tossing into the wastebasket by his desk.

With my Spiraea Bush & Associates “office” shaded from the sun’s sapping rays and everything duly appointed, I was ready for business. And just in the nick of time, too, for my first client.

Well, not a client in the true sense of the word. More like a nosy curiosity-seeker named Mother. Mouth closed and well recovered from her trout-mouth condition, she sauntered up to Spiraea Bush & Associates, peered under the bush, and asked what I was doing.

I’ve set up an office. Do you need some secretarial work done?”

“Not that I can think of.”

A pity, as I had the play typewriter from The Best-Ever Christmas, ample carbon paper, plenty of paper with blank back sides, and could easily have produced even the longest of letters – in duplicate or even triplicate. But, no. She had no business for me.

If I was disappointed, she was even more so. It was not, as you can imagine, exactly what she’d had in mind. But hey, she knew better than to complain. You see she’d been a mite duplicitous about fresh air. I thought she meant fresh air. It turns out she really meant physical exercise. But as I was in fresh air, she reluctantly settled for that – for the time being. 

Clearly, though, my desk-type entrepreneurial efforts didn’t qualify as a healthy childhood activity in her mind. Apparently, she wanted to see some running, jumping, or skipping – all activities I found highly overrated then. Now I know I missed my chance for building bone and will be fighting osteoporosis till I die. Odd, isn’t it, how parents know what they’re doing even when they don’t know what they’re doing?

Right about now would be a good time to come clean: Spiraea Bush & Associates was short-lived, as in two days. That’s because Mother shared the enterprise with my father, who initiated a serious father-daughter talk. It seemed he wasn’t keen on the idea that the contents of his wastebasket might end up as flying bits of paper all over our little neck of the woods. Yes, entrepreneurs sometimes meet with insurmountable roadblocks from the startlingly uncreative amongst us. And that’s all I’m going to say.

Well, not quite.

Here are the pay-attention bits
from this entrepreneurial enterprise.

  • Perhaps age nine is a little early for a sedentary desk job.
  • Parents often know exactly what they’re doing, even when they appear clueless.
  • Entrepreneurs almost always have an uphill battle. Get used to it.
  • When you discover a cache of good stuff some unimaginative soul has discarded, ask yourself in what inventive ways it could be recycled. (Need ideas? Ask a kid.)

Odd #12 blog post is ready: it’s all about that seldom encountered weirdness – paper addiction. (Yes, there is such a thing.)

©2015, Teresa Bennett

red box with white text: "It’s important to know who has the best, the most, the cheapest, the best delivery time, etc. Kids look through junkyards, yard sales, ‘free’ ads and under rocks. That’s all aside from keeping a list they’ve acquired through the grapevine of those who can offer the best fish bait, fireworks, homework help and bike repairs." – Joel Brown, Addicted2Success

Need ideas? As I said, ask a kid.