Riddle me this


Two things still puzzle me.

The first is check writing. I’ve looked into it, and apparently, you can use an alternate form of payment known as a “check card” which takes money from the exact same account, but without the need to spend hours in line in front of me.


When the revolution comes, Wade the Bold will abolish the archaic practice of checks. Wade the Bold will also execute anyone who engages in this medieval practice, while continuing to refer to himself in the third person.

I write about a dozen checks a year, all under protest. It pains me to write out numbers in wordy form, with the 00/100 and the long line to prevent time-traveling thieves from 1933 filling in “MILLIONS” on the correct line.

No, give me good ol’ American plastic. Not even a debit card, but an honest-to-God credit card. Debt isn’t just a privilege, it’s a duty.

Check writers are all the same. They wait until the cashier asks them for payment before even whipping out (by which we mean slowly digging for) the checkbook. No sense in hurrying along by filling in the date or the store name.

Why do some supermarkets and retailers still take checks? My dear old mum had her own retail operation, and bad checks were the bane of her existence. Bounced check equals no food in Wade’s tummy.

Then the shopper will eventually hand over the completed form, but not the required ID. And registers nowadays have an elaborate scan-and-verify system for checks, which bogs the whole process down.

Oh, and write down your phone number. And your work number. And your driver’s license number.

Soon this slip of paper is awash in numbers, many semi-private yet ready for identity thieves to nab.

All those pieces of paper, clogging up the retail cash flow, mucking up the banking industry. Not like the swift digital magic of instant charge transactions, the dull thrill of scratching your completely illegible signature on the swipe pad, marred by months of normal wear and tear.

Sign and press Enter. Sign and press Enter. Is this your amount? Yes No.

It’s all very efficient, very go-go. It makes check writing look like chiseling stone tablets or handing over beads and bones.

So do not be surprised someday, when the decree comes down from me, spirited away in the dark of night because you insisted on clinging to the old barbaric ways. Checking will not only be abolished, but also erased from all records, a non-entity.

Stick that in your passbook and balance it.

(Another puzzling thing in part 2.)


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