Check Mate

By Lavender February 14, 2008

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My bank and I never really had the honeymoon period that I’d enjoyed with other institutions, which more readily overlooked my lapses in honor and solvency to be in business with a problematic flake. I had made a number of sincere attempts to get the bank on my good side—even resorting to stamping “insufficient funds” on checks I was currently writing in an effort to streamline an already overburdened system.

Recently, the branch manager, who introduced himself as Mr. Posner, gave me a call. He was polite, but clearly agitated—something akin to a waiter being asked to take a meal back to the kitchen (which I’m not shy about doing, and I made this clear to Mr. Posner).

He informed me that he’d been glancing at my “account activity.” I told him that this was a break of confidentiality, or, at the very least, something I didn’t want to hear.

Posner claimed that the account showed no record of any deposit in the last 60 days, and that I was now overdrawn by $120. I was somewhat taken aback, as I distinctly recalled that the last deposit, a $2 rebate from Hasbro, was made three weeks prior.

He insisted that my account be reconciled. Because he never uttered the words “put in some cash,” I remained hopeful. I asked how one would go about reconciling the account. He told me that it would require an infusion of funds, which I informed him would be impossible until I had a new supply of deposit slips, as well as an income stream and, if need be, a job.

Posner did not find my plight sympathetic or even lucid. He gave me 48 hours to rectify the problem, or he would close the account.

It didn’t seem like much of a threat to close an account with a negative balance, but I wanted to keep it alive. This was the first bank where I’d ever reached check No. 300 without disciplinary action, and I enjoyed my newfound stature within the financial community. I agreed to make a deposit the following day.

In the past, whenever I’ve needed money in a hurry, I’ve generally entered karaoke contests and lost. I needed a new strategy—at least one that was more receptive to my haunting vibrato.

Suddenly, I remembered my neighborhood telephone pole. Posted on it are numerous opportunities to earn cash in less than six hours, usually through volunteering for assorted research studies. To qualify for the particular study, one must suffer from the malady on tap, and, fortunately for me, I qualified for every one except sexual addiction, which I attended as a placebo vendor.

I ran down to the pole to check out the day’s offerings. Two ads were of interest. The first was seeking those interested in clearing brush in their spare time. That, in itself, didn’t attract me, but the prospect of meeting people I didn’t envy had its allure.

The second ad was from a graduate student doing behavioral studies on the clinically obese. Not only was it a sexy ad, but also it eliminated much of the competition, leaving an elite few who could command top dollar. I noted the address, and headed directly to be observed and compensated.

I arrived at the graduate student’s apartment, and ambled into a small living room, where I was greeted by a gentleman named Pat. He told me that he had already turned away several potential subjects who fancied themselves clinically obese, but were, in fact, just ridiculously fat.

Pat performed a water displacement test, in which I scored in the 94th percentile (a slick little addition to my résumé). He indicated that his testing was complete, and asked my usual rate. I told him $125, but because the water displacement had saved a load of laundry, $120 would be fine.

Pat handed me a check. We posed for a couple of photographs, and then I was off to the bank.

He ran after me: “For five bucks, we can post your initials for ‘high score of the day!’”

I wrote him a check.

Well, consider the source.

Bye for now.
Kiss, kiss.

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