Fading memories of 2008

My memory is going. Iím still writing 2008 on my checks. Worse, Iím 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, donít worry, none of the executives are being ďright-sized,Ē just the people who do all the work. Theyíve 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 ďstatement feeĒ 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 canít remember that easy number. I know it wasnít my birthday because that would be too easy. And I know it wasnít Sueís birthday or our anniversary because that would be too hard to remember. It was something really simple. It wasnít my phone number, because I can never remember that. Ever since I got a cell phone and you just hit the personís name, I donít remember anyoneís 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. Iím still only a three-digit golfer. Ah, now I remember Ė itís every other number in my Social Security number, backwards. Easy.

Two, five, eight, three? Three, five, two, eight? If I canít get it in three tries, the ATM wonít 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 canít get anything. Youíd think if a guy is smart enough to break into a bank electronically, heíd be smart enough to get a high-paying job Ė like the CEO of a bank.

I have so much hacker-proof software on my computer, half the time I canít get into it. So I call for service and they want to know my phone PIN. Iíd like to give it to them, but it is safely stored on the computer I canít get into.

I know Iím not the only person losing my memory. I just watched the 50 TV shows doing the ďTop 10 Stories of 2008!Ē What do they think? Iíve already forgotten 2008? Correct me if Iím wrong, but wasnít that just last year?

ďThatís right, now that you mention it, Obama did win! Iíd forgotten all about that.Ē I seem to remember something about a war, too. And didnít something nasty happen in Galveston? It was so long ago Ė like three or four months at least. And wasnít there something about a bank bailout? Did you hear anything about that? And the auto bailout? Wasnít 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? Youíre kidding! I donít remember that at all. But it does explain why thereís no money in my bank account. No, thatís 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. Iíd like to find out if I can retire yet.

Jim Mullen is the author of ďIt Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple LifeĒ and ďBabyís First Tattoo.Ē You can reach him at jim_mullen@myway.com

Copyright 2009, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

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