Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org &
Knatz.com / Stories / By Theme / Work, Business /
I’m gonna jot some bank stories before worrying about how to categorize them, which K. Menu to put them under:
As a kid I threw all the money I earned into a drawer. The lawn moving, gardening, window washing income added up; the newspaper route income filled the drawer with small bills, quarters, dimes … I counted it once: several hundred dollars. I’d take out of quarter and a nickel to buy a malted and a Clark bar, nearly every day, but every week I was adding $7, $12 … more. My mother insisted on what I eventually would have tried, but long before I was ready to try it: my mother made me open a checking account at the bank.
I still kept a hundred or so in my drawer, but now I had $300, $500, $700 … $1,200, $1,500 in the bank.
No matter how broke we were as a family, no matter how many times the utilities were cut off, my mother never raided my cash, or my bank account: she rounded up the overdue payments without my assistance. Other mothers would have indentured us kids, or at least charged board. No: till I got near college, my money was mind. As I approached the end of my compulsory public schooling, it became more and more clear to me: “my” money was to belong to the college, and the bank, and the USA …
Anyway, I start this scrapbook with two stories of banks sticking in my craw:
For Your Convenience
My high school checking account, 1950s, was at a bank that mailed account statements every two weeks: meant nothing to me, my money just accumulated: it was for accumulating, not spending. Whatever my expenses, buying several new jazz records a week, the expenditure was always exceeded by my income. The money accumulated, whether in my drawer, or in the bank. Then college came, and zhoom, it all went out, all at once. And new money seldom ever came in again.
But one day I got a bank statement that was a little different from the ones we were used to. A notice said: “For your convenience …”
“we will from now on mail account statements once a month, not twice a month.”
For my convenience?!! Well, I can stretch it to make sense: formerly there were two statements a month I didn’t have to open or real: I “knew” the money was “there.” Before, there were two envelopes in the mail I didn’t have to open, now there was one. How convenient.
Since the 1950s I’ve noticed many times how corporations never announce any change without preambling it with a grotesque lie. Getting less service, them doing less work, is for my convenience.
Coming up on college age, this rich kid, the kid with the drawer full of cash, was suddenly poor. Suddenly my expenses would overwhelm my income. Christmas was coming up, I needed to buy things, for more than a nickel and a quarter, and I didn’t want to raid the cash drawer or the bank account. So: I got a temporary job, just for the week before Christmas, a job in NYC. I’d commute. I laid out cash for a weeks LIRR ticket, I laid out cash for the subway. I told the woman I was working for that I needed the money, right away. It cost me money to work for her. Friday came. Ah, ha. Pay day. 5PM, she handed me an envelope. I opened it. I contained a check: $70, or whatever I’d earned.
“What’s this?” I asked. “I need cash.”
“Just take it to the bank, they’ll cash it.
“The bank closed two hours ago.”
“I will be open on Monday,” she said.
This is a betrayal.
I could have cashed the check at my bank, on Long Island. I could have deposited it. But I couldn’t use the money for another few days unless someone cashed the check for me.
The society is constructed to betray the young for the convenience of the privileged.
Neither had she warned me that the bank would not cash my check unless I had identification papers. What papers does a sixteen year old, seventeen year old kid have?
Now I realize this story must have taken place later than the 1950s. I did have all that stuff in the 1950s; it was in the 1960s, the 1970s when I had nothing: having offered the world a cheap internet, having offered the world the word of God, the salvation of Christ. No, no: you need papers …
The Romans can always arrest Jesus, or any disciple: Where are your papers?
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