It wasn’t George Clooney, Harrison Ford or a Dylan sighting that had stopped me in my tracks at the big GeaCom shindig down at the DECC.
Influencial people were gathering to celebrate Phrazer, the Duluth company’s multilingual medical communications device headed for production. It’s gonna be big, really big, it appears.
Anyway, during the press conference, someone announced that the company’s team of advisers were present – scientists, doctors, technical people. Among them was Art Fry, the inventor of the Post-it Note.
Did he say the Post-it Note inventor?
Instantly alert, I searched the crowd but failed to pick him out.
My mind was racing. What would life be without those handy little notes that stick to just about anything without doing damage? It was hard to remember back to life before the Post-it Note. My God, we had to attach notes with tape, paper clips and pins.
I had so many questions. How did it come about? Did he know his invention would become this big. And… I wanted to thank him.
After the official press conference wound up, the unofficial one began. That’s when TV people get individual camera time with key people, and those key people are usually quick to oblige them – first.
During this print-reporter-reduced-to-second-class-media-status period, I was biding my time. The PR guy steered me to various advisers whom I really didn’t need to interview for my story.
“… and this is Art Fry,” the PR guy said, referring to a kindly looking older gent.
“The man who invented the Post-it Note? I asked eagerly.
It was indeed. I zoomed in on my target.
“Thank you SO MUCH for inventing the Post-it Note,” I gushed.
Apparently he had been thanked before, hundreds of times.
“Most newspaper people think I did it for them,” he said, matter-of-factly.
Undaunted, I persisted.
I asked how the former 3M scientist came to create the sticky little notes, what it was like seeing his invention take off and did it make him rich?
Turns out, he’s from Duluth. I was even more thrilled.
He tried to steer the conversation to GeaCom’s revolutionary device which he says has endless applications. But I kept getting back to the Post-it Note until I felt I had enough for a story. Through it all, he patiently answered by questions. Questions he probably had been asked hundreds of times since sales of the Post-it Notes took off in 1980.
Before we parted, I couldn’t resist. I thanked him yet again for creating those handy little notes.
(The story that resulted ran in the March 15 Duluth News Tribune).