I was substituting in a high school class once upon a time and I noticed a man in the back futzing with some cardboard boxes . What he was doing in the classroom I didn’t have any idea , but he wasn’t disrupting anything and so I waited for a break to ask him . ” So , why are you here ? ”
He was the teacher in whose class I was teaching . Then , why am I here ? , I wondered . He was packaging plastic rectangles , orange ones with black arrows . He needed the time , he said , to get these things in the mail , so he had to take a day off. ” What are they ? ” I asked . And , so , he explained .
He had acquired a patent on the slits on the signs . The slits were his idea . The slits fit the signs snuggly onto highway cones . No more individual stand needed for each sign . He said that for a few months he had made only a few thousand dollars , but then he got a marketing person . He had made $25,000 that month , he said . The signs were selling all over the country and in Germany , so far , he told me .
That was about thirty years ago . I hope he is a multi-trillion-billionaire by now . He probably is . And happy . And , maybe , just maybe , still teaching . He probably isn’t .