When I was in junior high school, I was a one man Triangle trade.  My mother gave me a dollar a day for lunch money which to my pre-teen mind didn’t get me very far.  So, creative thinker that I was, I got up early to school, stopped at Kroger, and used my lunch money to buy candy.  I took that to school and sold it by the piece, then used that money to buy whatever lunch I wanted and then after school to buy comic books.  In turn, my comic book collection grew so large I was like the godfather:  any comic book trade in the school had to go through me for approval.

Yes, it was ridiculous.  On the plus side, this is what helped keep me out of selling drugs:  I had a huge profit margin, limited risk, and limited violence.  On the downside, I eventually expanded my interests into a scheme involving school lunch cards.  Turns out what I was doing was a Federal offense and led to my suspension.  [Yet another reason I opted to not become a business major in college as my natural bent toward money schemes tended to bring out the worst in me, i.e., picture me in a boiler room, so I pursued writing instead.]

But it all comes around.

Watching my sons is like watching an episode of the Flintstones with their nearly daily money-making schemes.  We’ve watched them launch a massage business (don’t ask – that got busted up pretty quick), an art dealership (of their drawings), a snack stand, a restaurant (charging people at our Tuesday night gatherings for them to serve them), a toy store (recycling their Christmas toys they lost interest in), a cleaning service (trying to find a way to profit from doing chores), and a lemonade stand.

So the other day I busted my oldest running his variation of a ponzi scheme/con at school.  He had purchased a “ruby” at the dollar story.  He was running around school selling and re-selling his “ruby”.  He was quite literally on the verge of pulling in three figures worth of income when I stumbled across his paperwork (stumbled as in he was having me double check his “homework” to make sure his figures were correct).  This led to several conversations* and returning of funds he had collected because, as my wife reminded me, this would have been one of those parent-teacher-pissed off parents conferences that I’d have to attend.  Alone.**

*One of which was a reminder that he should perhaps wait until he gets his MBA before he sets out to defraud the public.

**In a conversation where the boys went from being “our children” to “your children”.