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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

You Can Bank On It

I have fears and shit.

Some of my shitty little fears revolve around banking.

Banking, for those of you unfamiliar with the art, requires at least a rudimentary comfort and/or familiarity with numbers. I don't do numbers. When I realized that hanging a picture involved retarded housecat-level geometry this weekend, I shut down. There are pencil marks all over our hallway wall, and the picture is leaning against the office desk. There it sits, and there it will remain, inert and unhung until my prayers are answered and Jesus comes down from the heavens and fucking hangs it himself-- and he'd better not get his stigmata schmeng all over it either.

I also fear banks because I have a (un)healthy fear of getting shot. As someone who lives in a pretty nice neighborhood, avoids confrontation like a germaphobe avoids an eviscerated, maggot-filled rat corpse, and works in the non-profit sector, pretty much the only time I could ever really get shot would be whilst at the bank, in the course of a strongarm robbery gone bad. Yes, the gas station and the pharmacy are also places this violence could occur, but I think the bank's the frontrunner here.

I never go to the bank right as it's opening, because I know that lots of people who knock over banks sit and wait in the parking lot to ambush unsuspecting tellers as they're just arriving for work, and I never go to the bank as it's closing, for the selfsame reason. You shouldn't either and, if you do, you're fucking crazy, or a bank robber, or, worse, a fucking crazy bank robber. I'm onto you, you Dog Day Afternoon motherfucker.


Sorry. Where was I?

Oh, right-- getting shot at the bank. I feel that I would be a prime candidate to get shot during a robbery. Hot chick with nice boobies? You might get fondled in the vault a little, but you're not going to get shot. Old fuckin' grammaw in the flower-print jumper with no teeth? Nobody but the most hardened sociopath is going to shoot you-- grammaws always get a free pass, because everybody, even the biggest shithead of a bankrobbing bastard has a grammaw in a flower-print jumper. Frumpy dumpass mom with three kids-- you won't get shot, and neither will your kids. Possible exception is if one of those little dickheads starts crying his fucking head off. Most seasoned bank robbers will just shove their gun's barrel inside the whiner's mouth, and that's usually enough to scare the bejesus out of (and choke the voicebox) most Weepie Willies. Nobody shoots the security guards anymore-- because most of them aren't even armed anyway and make less than the average McDonald's worker-- they're so unmotivated to take action during a robbery, they'd probably jump in and help you get away. So, what's the point?

Impatient Balding Asshole Wearing Sunglasses Indoors With Nice Shoes might get shot, but chances are they'll go for the skinny, Jewish asthmatic with unfortunate facial hair first. After all, who would miss him, right? They'd think the wedding band was a fake purchased at a pawnshop most likely. When it comes to shooting hostages at a bank, I might as well just stand up and volunteer to go first.

The other reason I'm most likely to get shot during a holdup is I'm just this side of crazy enough to try something heroic. I have a very outdated sense of valour, so outdated, in fact, that I spell it like that, and that I may very well be apt to put my William Blake philosophy ("The most sublime act is to set another before you") to the test. When it all boils down to gravy, let's face it: I'm fucking nuts. I might jump on some gunman's back, shove my thumbs into his eye-sockets and bite an appreciable chunk out of his neck before taking three 9mm slugs to my crazy fucking face. It's sad, but true.

I also don't go to the bank if there's an armored car idling out front, making a delivery or fiddling around with the ATM machine. Big van filled with money + incompetent, poorly-trained bag-men with big revolvers + broad daylight = Big Daddy Danger Danger Time. Getting in the middle of Dodge City with crazy bank robbers and cop wannabee armored car guards is not my idea of a good time. If I want to dance in between bullets, I'll go to Southwest Philly for some Heroin-flavored water ice.

Because I eschew human interactions as much as possible, obviously, whenever I have to deposit a check or make a withdrawal I use the ATM. Everytime I use the ATM, I think that the last thing I'm going to see is the contents of my frontal lobe being splattered all over the screen, the result of a screaming-hot high-velocity bullet careening through the back of my head, cooking my brain tissue as it passes. But, hey, gotta take risks, right?

Yesterday afternoon, I had to deposit my paycheck (no direct deposit for this chump). I walked quickly up to the ATM and slid my debit card through the slot without even looking at the screen. Once I did, I realized that it said something like this:

"You fucking idiot-- this ATM is not working today. I can't believe you just stuck your debit card inside me without looking at the screen first. You know, you really don't pay attention-- like, ever. Seriously, how do you get through the day without killing yourself in some ridiculous, freak accident? Because you are so stupid, I'm not going to give you your ATM card back, no matter how many times you hit the "CANCEL" button. Go on! Keep pushing it, dumbshit! I'm not giving it back. Push push push push push push! That's right, you hysterical, sweating stick-insect. You just march into that bank and engage in precisely the human contact you were trying to avoid by using this broken-ass ATM in the first place. MOTHERFUCKER!"

I don't remember what the exact error message was, so, obviously, I'm paraphrasing.

With my tail between my legs, as usual, and with my head firmly up my ass, also as usual, I marched into the bank and stood in a line nine deep. I hadn't realized that June 1st was No Speakie Englie Day at Bank of America-- it was not well publicized, but I certainly got the message after thirty-two minutes spent waiting in that ceaseless line while immigrants from indeterminate countries and nation-states tried in vain to successfully communicate with tellers named Taishla and Ubvonda.

This experience, however, taught me something very, very valuable about life: I had previously thought that the worst thing that could happen to you at the bank was getting shot. I now understand that the worst thing that could happen to you at the bank was going to the bank.


  1. True, hence funny. you put words to my own thoughts

  2. Man, Dog Day Afternoon always f*cks with me. Prince Humperdinck in a dress. This is all I'm saying.

  3. God I hate numbers. They fuck my shit UP.


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