It would be fitting, since he got his degree in accounting when he went to night school even though he worked with computers, that I should talk about this on my Dad's birthday. It is a practical budgeting method I learned in college that my recent flood of memories made me realize I haven't related yet. However, as I construct this timely introduction, I realize that it is, in fact, two month's early for his birthday, because I've long moved past not knowing what day it is, and shifted on to forgetting larger calendar increments.
I didn't learn this method in any lecture. Between engineering and other requirements, I had neither the time nor the inclination to take any business classes.
However, Jesse and I took over the key officer positions of the juggling club. As treasurer, it was my responsibility to submit the club budget to the Union. As President, and more importantly, as my friend and more experienced juggler, it was Jesse's job to help figure out what equipment we needed to replace.
As we surveyed the contents of the ancient yellow trunk in the equipment closet of the ABC Room, we realized the equipment we needed to replace was, "Most of it."
Our membership drive ads in the paper had been successful and the large number of newcomers were often forced to share equipment.
The knives and torches were holding up, as they were the least regularly used. That level of performance insanity would take a while to infect the neophyte members.
The clubs were battered, the rings were warped, and the handful of beanbags weren't enough for the new crowd, even if one discounted that several of them leaked.
Jesse and I tallied up what we'd really need to keep everyone practicing and leave room to grow on subsequent semesters.
We sat down, and with virtually no business experience, or history of dealing with the RPI Student Union, racked our brains trying to figure out how much of an overage we should put in the budget to insure we got what we needed.
Should it be five to ten percent? Or as much as twenty?
We also weren't sure if is should be a percentage of the equipment, as in ask for forty bean bags when we needed thirty?
Or should we ask for thirty bean bags, but state they cost more than the prices we already knew?
We faced several days of calculating, tallying and straight out guessing, worried how we'd "prop" up the club we were trying to sustain.
A miracle arrived in the mail during this time- the latest issue of Juggler's World magazine.
In it, we saw a photo of a juggler born in 1947, Charles Knie, maintaining a three club pattern while standing atop an unusual item.
The solution presented itself to us.
In making phone inquiries of prices for my EMAD project, I obtained the costs we needed for the unusual object.
We submitted a fully itemized budget to the RPI Union consisting of Dube' Juggling Equipment:
A case of matching bean bags,
Several Full sets of Airflite clubs
A couple sets of rings
A devil stick
Supported by the inclusion of a photo of Mr. Knie in action:
The annual care and feeding of one rhinoceros.
By the next week, the Union returned our itemized budget to us with no comments other than the rhinoceros crossed out and an approval stamp on it.
Therefore we learned the value of the "Rhinoceros Method of Budget Development" wherein one lists exactly what is required for the project...
And a rhino.