Monday, May 22, 2006

Counting money is fun

I love little kids. Anyone who knows me can attest to that. If I’m at a party or a cookout, and there are little kids around, chances are I’m with them, playing games or chasing them around the yard like a lunatic. If anything, I’m the anti-W.C. Fields. Fields said to never work with kids or animals. Me, half the time, I’d just as soon be with the kids and the pets as I would be with the adults.

All of this is basically a long-winded approach to let you know I like kids and I’m pretty darn patient with them.

Unless the little kid is in front of me in a mini-van at the ATM drive-through lane trying to use the ATM machine.

Which brings me back about a week or two, coming home from work and stopping at the local ATM so I can get $20 for pizza and beer. Very important stuff, that pizza and beer, patient as I am, you do not want to screw around for too long with making me wait for it. So I pull behind the aforementioned mini-van, and for a minute or two, I don’t notice any thing out of the ordinary. I’m pretty good with that, the being patient. Or the zoning out. Take your pick.

Eventually, though, even I will get fidgety with staying in one place for too long a time. I look up, and notice that instead of Mom or Dad getting the money from the machine, they’re letting little Johnny press the buttons. I’m all for teaching little Johnny about math, or responsibility, or avoiding $2 transaction fees, or whatever, but little Johnny is taking way too long. Five minutes later, he’s still leaning out the window, tapping away at the keys on the machine.

“For the love of God, just get the kid an Easy-bake ATM machine and let him do this at home,” I scream at the mini-van. Well, scream in my head.

Finally, after another two minutes, little Johnny has finally ducked back into the van after having successfully transferred his family’s 401K into a Roth IRA, or whatever the hell he was doing. I put my car back into drive and start to put my foot on the gas, but the mini-van still isn’t moving. Apparently, Mom and Dad are letting little Johnny reconcile the friggin’ checkbook before they go any further.

Please, please, please, when I have kids, do not let me put everyone else’s life on hold because my child is the most wondiferously splentastic thing in the world. “Do you know what little three-year old Junior Swift did today? He went to the bank and applied for a mortgage all by himself. Can you believe he’s such a clever little man.”

Eventually, after all the money is counted and little Johnny has put all the $20 bills in order by serial number and issue date, I make it to the ATM. By this time, I am so famished and disoriented by a lack of pizza and beer, I accidentally hit the Spanish language instructions when I try to get out my $20. Somehow, I manage to get the right amount of money without my entire account going loco.
Aren’t I just so smart?

And I’m only 36.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


I have been threatened with a fannypack.

Not a specific fannypack, mind you, just the possibility of being forced to wear a fannypack. Now, I will assume that the threat of being forced to wear a fannypack stands on its own merits without having to explicitly explain what is wrong with wearing a fannypack. Its just one of the things in this world that is so obvious that it stands on its own, a perfect one-word punchily.

So you can understand why being threatened with the prospect of having to wear a fannypack would be so frightening. Really though, it’s my fault. My fault for carrying around the man-purse.

Mind you, it’s not a real purse, manly or otherwise. To the untrained eye, it looks an awful lot like a Gap jean’s jacket. In fact, that’s what it was sold to me as, and one of it’s major functions is still as a protective outer covering during times of slightly chilly weather. But there’s a reason I hesitate to put the jacket away once the thermometer starts to rise above 70 degrees on a consistent basis. Besides being intermittently fashionable, the jean’s jacket is also extremely practical. The two large pockets on the inside of the jacket are the perfect place to store everything from keys to wallets to cell phones to important paper to pens to grocery lists to my Sirius Satellite radio when I take it out of my car.

For a while, I don’t think Carrie caught on to the usefulness of my jacket. Of course, I had known the packing capacities of jean jackets for years. I had worn them even when they were (so I was told) out of fashion. While I didn’t have cell phones and satellite radios back then, the pockets did serve as the perfect place to store a pack of cigarettes and the odd can of beer or two.

Then, one day, she picked it up and nearly threw her back out because of all the accumulated items I had packed away in the two very deep, very useful pockets. She started going through the pockets and after about ten minutes, when everything was pulled out and placed on the kitchen table she said:

“That’s it, we’re getting you a fannypack.”

And that threat has been hanging over my head (and potentially around my belly) ever since. I don’t really understand how a fannypack is any improvement over a jean jacket, but apparently, someone knows the threat will leave me with the cold sweats. It’s not like I’m the most fashionable guy in the world to begin with, but I know enough not to wear socks with sandals and I know that fannypacks are just plain wrong. Wear a fannypack? I might as well just put on clown shoes and suspenders and start spraying people with seltzer water.