Checks and Balances

Monday, September 24, 2012




There’s probably an explanation as to why I’m sorting through old bank statements and cancelled checks from 30 years ago, but the reason somehow eludes me at the present moment.  I’m making a real effort to sift through my stagnant ‘life collectibles’ and today is the lucky day for bank records. 

Back in 1982, I probably wouldn’t have given a second thought to throwing away old bank statements (yes, many of them have my social security number printed on them).  But as they say, “That was then, and this is now.”  It’s kind of like peering through a window in history as I look over all the old checks that must now be shredded.  Did I say shred?  I’ve got so many years’ worth of checks and statements, that I decided that it would be quicker to burn them in my barbeque.  I'd be lying though, if I said that I wasn't wondering a few times if my next-door neighbor would call the fire department.

I ran across checks made out to companies that have changed names, that no longer exist and that no longer have a significant place in my life:  B. Dalton Books, The Wherehouse, Price Club, Best Products and May Company.  I used to do a lot of work on my car, so there are numerous checks made out to auto repair and parts shops too.

Now I have a new appreciation for electronic copies of checks, instead of the antiquated returned checks with statements (something that I clung to for dear life when it was still offered).  Was that me that actually paid the bank an additional monthly service charge to get my checks back with my monthly statements?  Only my hairdresser knows for sure; and even as I think that thought, I wonder if I should have been spending more of my hard earned money on therapy instead of haircuts all those years.  For some unexplained reason, I felt a freakish sense of security knowing that I got my checks back every month.  Did it make it any easier to balance my checkbook with actual checks instead of copies of the checks – or was that one of the anal retentive things that most people eventually outgrow?  I won’t answer that question, because I get real tired of hearing myself refer to myself as anal retentive.

Who even writes this many checks anymore?  Now I hardly ever carry a checkbook, and many times I don’t even have any cash to my name.  I use my ATM card for almost everything.  If I make a purchase under $5.00, I usually look for something else to buy to avoid the embarrassment of ATM-ing a $2.17 purchase (for example).  Is that weird?  I guess I’ll have to ask about that the next time a get a haircut. 

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