$87.50

I'll freely admit that I am not the most organized person in the world. I lose things more often than I'd like; the greeting cards from a couple days ago being the tip of the iceberg. I'm also not always the best about returning library books on time. I've had to pay a couple dollars in fines on past occasions.

Yet this week, I gave a scathing lecture to my 3rd graders about responsibility when over half of them suddenly didn't have their library books to return to our school library. "Someone must have stolen it!" they protested, but I was in full-on teacher witch mode, and instead of going to the library, I made the entire class read silently for half an hour. I sent a reminder letter home to the parents that the school policy is for the kids to either replace the book or pay $6. When a kid came in the next day with $6 worth of quarters, I felt pretty bad.

Today, standing in line at the public library, I couldn't help but overhear the conversation between the librarian and the customer in front of me.

"$87.50!" the librarian said.

The man shrugged.

"I don't have to pay it now, right?" he said.

"Well, you realize you won't be able to check out any books until do, right?" the librarian asked sternly.

"Alright, alright," he said, as he ducked out the door.

In retrospect, my students and I both seemed pretty responsible in that moment...