Flashback Monday: “Cereal, Milk, and a Bank Loan” from ME STUFF

Bag of MoneyFor today’s Flashback Monday, I’m diving back into my experience in banking. Well, a bank at a grocery store, which to me still seems a weird idea. But this article has bank robbers, psychics, strippers, everything you could want in a story about high finance… or grocery financing.

This is the seventh installment in my doing these Flashback Mondays. You can check out the others installments here, herehere, here, here. and here. They are all included in my new book ME STUFF. Here is an excerpt from the beginning of my banking misadventures:

I own a copy of The Satanic Bible because of my time working at a bank.

Let me begin by pointing out that this was not a normal bank. For some reason, the higher-ups in the banking world (who I always like to imagine as fat pigs in suits with cigars) thought it would be a good idea to have a bank in a grocery store. Really? Okay, sure. This grocery store was also in the heart of a more struggling community, so the idea of a bank being in that store in that area made the entire experience that much odder.  Sometimes it would leave me feeling like we were taunting the more struggling citizens (those shopping with food stamps). Not for you…

No one that knows me would have argued that banking is the best career choice for me. Yes, I enjoy interacting with people and customer service to a certain extent, but numbers are not my thing. The one time I had ever (ever!) needed a tutor was for a beginning college course in Accounting. I remember the tutor having a hard time explaining something to me and so she would talk slower and slower as if it was the speed of her explanation that was the problem. For all I know that tutor is still sitting someplace trying to finish that sentence.

I was in grad school at the time (working towards a master’s in English Literature), and the job worked around my busy classroom schedule, so I couldn’t say no, no matter how off this position was for me.  It almost made me feel like I had a secret identity. At school I was in cool t-shirts and hoodies, talking about Virginia Woolf and William Shakespeare; at work, I was a business professional talking about mortgages. I was the English major’s version of Clark Kent.Me Stuff, front cover

This article was presented in two parts on the site; the first part can be found here, and the second here. Or, better yet, you can grab a copy of ME STUFF which contains 40 editorials like this one and it is super cheap-o.

The eBook version of the book is only $1.99 (here on Amazon) and in print for only $8.99 (here on Amazon).

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Cereal, Milk, and a Bank Loan (Part 2)

purple-wig-with-bangs-3This is part 2 of a remembrance. Part 1 can be found here

The idea of going to a psychic was like a dozen Christmases! This was my most wonderful time of the year, Andy Williams! And this wasn’t just any pretend psychic like on a 1-900 line, but one that my boss (the person who kept me employed and paid me) swore up and down was completely legit. I was giddy, giggling throughout the week up to my appointment like a kid on Christmas Eve.

Yes, I had to make an appointment, this psychic didn’t meet with just anyone. She also wanted to talk to me on the phone for ten minutes before agreeing to the meeting. It was an awkward conversation (which I did in the branch office with my manager looking on), almost feeling like I was attending a job interview. Of course here my soul, not my resume, was under review.  Finally, she said that I was okay and she would meet with me.

 Merry Christmas!

This, by the way, is not to say that I really believed any of this kind of stuff. But… But… But if this was an actual, real psychic like in a movie and I was about to have an experience like that? Well, just imagine that!

Quests have begun with lesser moments than that! By the way, that is the problem with having my imagination, it can carry me away just like a bear with a picnic basket. And at this point, it was a very wonderful picnic basket, full of magic and possible future joy and success. I couldn’t help but get excited by the fantastical possibility of it all.

Yes, I am in many ways a cynic and a realist, but a part of me has always wanted to believe in more than what I can see in front of me. I want to believe in a destiny and purpose, even though in my heart I know it is all a bunch of baloney. Continue reading

Cereal, Milk, and a Bank Loan (Part 1)

Bag of MoneyI own a copy of The Satanic Bible because of my time working at a bank.

Let me begin by pointing out that this was not a normal bank. For some reason, the higher-ups in the banking world (who I always like to imagine as fat pigs in suits with cigars) thought it would be a good idea to have a bank in a grocery store. Really? Okay, sure. This grocery store was also in the heart of a more struggling community, so the idea of a bank being in that store in that area made the entire experience that much odder.  Sometimes it would leave me feeling like we were taunting the more struggling citizens (those shopping with food stamps). Not for you…

No one that knows me would have argued that banking is the best career choice for me. Yes, I enjoy interacting with people and customer service to a certain extent, but numbers are not my thing. The one time I had ever (ever!) needed a tutor was for a beginning college course in Accounting. I remember the tutor having a hard time explaining something to me and so she would talk slower and slower as if it was the speed of her explanation that was the problem. For all I know that tutor is still sitting someplace trying to finish that sentence.

I was in grad school at the time (working towards a master’s in English Literature), and the job worked around my busy classroom schedule, so I couldn’t say no, no matter how off this position was for me.  It almost made me feel like I had a secret identity. At school I was in cool t-shirts and hoodies, talking about Virginia Woolf and William Shakespeare; at work, I was a business professional talking about mortgages. I was the English major’s version of Clark Kent.

Being in a grocery store, the bank looked more like a pharmacy, with one back office and a long counter. But instead of pills we were pushing financial obligations and long-term debt.  We were there to open accounts, sell the services of the bank. We were the front line of a financial war, and the shoppers walking around were the targets. Our weapons were free rulers and pens and other minor office supplies with our logo on them. It was also my job every thirty minutes or so to wander around those grocery aisles, interrupting strangers who were in the middle of shopping.  Honestly, it all felt so very rude and I hated it.

“Hi, I noticed you are buying groceries. Would you like a free notepad for your grocery list? No… Okay… Well, I’m with the bank over there and we are offering a new special on an equity loan… And… I’m sorry for bothering you.”

I said sorry a lot when I was on that job. Continue reading

My Remaining Years and the Birthday of Doom

I have always hated birthdays and I think part of the problem is I have always put too much pressuring on meeting difficult milestones.

I blame myself, but I also blame great writers for this. See, I have always put a lot on what others have done by my age and the older I get (and more great writers die off with each year I pass. I mean, come on! I’m almost a few years off from when Jane Austen snuffed it), the more this is getting difficult to do. Many of the greats have already hit their classic by this point. Me? I’m still struggling to get people to find my writing (and thank you for reading).

Looking back over my website this year it seems aging is a big theme for me. Maybe part of this is related to the fact I lost my grandfather at the beginning of the year. He was the last of my grandparents and with him an entire generation of my family disappeared. Yet, to be honest, I have written about aging before then. One of the first things I wrote for Green Spot Blue was a piece about being older than Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Yes, being older than Indy is a big deal for members of my generation. If you don’t understand what I mean, I can’t help you. (You can read that piece here.) I’m approaching Last Crusade now… after that there is a long draught until the flying fridge and the crystal skulls.

Before this becomes some kind of a great pity party for me, let me add here that I am very happy in my reality. My wife and I have created a wonderful life together and our kids are amazing. I know it’s almost corny to say one’s kids are their greatest achievement but… Okay… my kids are my greatest achievement. Continue reading

Book Review: Farsighted by Emlyn Chand

It’s a hard task when a writer decides to begin a book series.

There is really no more important book in the series than that first one and it can apply an extra burden on a writer’s narrative as they not only try to give you a solid story, but excite you enough to want to continue the adventures of the main characters, while giving you a feeling of closure and not closure at the end. Whew…  This is the task Emlyn Chand gave herself in her first young adult novel, Farsighted (Found on amazon.com here), a possible five-book series.

There is a lot going for Farsighted.

For one, there is a very unique narrator, one that took me quite by surprise with a “Doh, why have I not seen, or thought, of this before!?” Frankly, the idea is, in my opinion, almost revolutionary for storytelling. Continue reading