Fading memories of 2008

My memory is going. I’m still writing 2008 on my checks. Worse, I’m still writing checks, while everyone else is banking online. Well, not everyone else, just people with money. My bank is letting people go left and right. No, don’t worry, none of the executives are being “right-sized,” just the people who do all the work. They’ve gotten rid of all the tellers and replaced them with ATM machines that will never get pensions or take vacations. My bank charges me to use the ATM. They never charged me to use a teller. I got my statement last month, and they charged me a “statement fee” of $5. Excuse me? Is this a ploy to get more of my business?

I can never remember my PIN. I picked an easy number that I would never forget and can’t remember that easy number. I know it wasn’t my birthday because that would be too easy. And I know it wasn’t Sue’s birthday or our anniversary because that would be too hard to remember. It was something really simple. It wasn’t my phone number, because I can never remember that. Ever since I got a cell phone and you just hit the person’s name, I don’t remember anyone’s phone number. I used to know two or three of them by heart.



What was that PIN? My lowest golf score? No, the PIN is four-digit number. I’m still only a three-digit golfer. Ah, now I remember – it’s every other number in my Social Security number, backwards. Easy.

Two, five, eight, three? Three, five, two, eight? If I can’t get it in three tries, the ATM won’t give me any cash for 24 hours. But if I drop my ATM card on my way home, my bank will let the guy who finds it empty my account down to the last penny. But me, I can’t get anything. You’d think if a guy is smart enough to break into a bank electronically, he’d be smart enough to get a high-paying job – like the CEO of a bank.

I have so much hacker-proof software on my computer, half the time I can’t get into it. So I call for service and they want to know my phone PIN. I’d like to give it to them, but it is safely stored on the computer I can’t get into.

I know I’m not the only person losing my memory. I just watched the 50 TV shows doing the “Top 10 Stories of 2008!” What do they think? I’ve already forgotten 2008? Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t that just last year?

“That’s right, now that you mention it, Obama did win! I’d forgotten all about that.” I seem to remember something about a war, too. And didn’t something nasty happen in Galveston? It was so long ago – like three or four months at least. And wasn’t there something about a bank bailout? Did you hear anything about that? And the auto bailout? Wasn’t there a Summer Olympics this year? I wonder if that Michael Phelps guy won any medals at all? Look at that! Gas used to be $4.50. When was that? A hundred years ago? Last summer? You’re kidding! I don’t remember that at all. But it does explain why there’s no money in my bank account. No, that’s not it, now I remember. I turned all my money over to Bernie Madoff to invest for me back in September. I wish I could remember his phone number. I’d like to find out if I can retire yet.

Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at jim_mullen@myway.com

Copyright 2009, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

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