I hate big banks. They seem to find every possible way to charge people to access their own money. I mean, don’t they make enough money on interest from loaning out my money? Why should I have to pay to make a cash withdrawal from the teller line when the ATM is out of order? That just doesn’t seem right. Why should I pay them for not keeping enough money in my savings account? Shouldn’t they be paying me to let them loan out my money to other people? I won’t go on any further about banks, but I will say that it was my dislike for large financial institutions that led me to the local credit union.
I already had a very miniscule savings account there so I thought it would be most convenient for me to remain their customer.
I walked in the door and waited at the receptionist’s desk. The receptionist was a young woman with big hair and long nails. She was chewing gum very loudly and talking on the phone. She didn’t even glance at me when I approached her. I waited patiently for a few minutes but she still paid me no attention. I thought perhaps this phone call she was on must have been very important for her to be so engrossed. However, the minute she belted out “I can’t believe you didn’t tell him where to stick it!”, I knew it must have been a personal call. I didn’t dare speculate as to what whomever she was discussing might be sticking anywhere. Instead, I decided to quietly clear my throat.
“I mean, really! The nerve! What is it with men?”
“You should have told him to get his grubby mitts off your—“
“Excuse me!” I didn’t want to wait for the exact location of his “mitts”. I was a minor after all.
“Hold on a sec. Yeah?” She asked, clearly annoyed.
“I’d like to see someone about opening an account.”
“Uh! How old are you?”
Now I was annoyed. “I’m sixty-seven. How old are you?” I was not having luck with receptionists today. She raised her eyebrows at my remark, but told me to sign my name on the register and wait on a nearby couch.
Thankful to be out of earshot of the risqué conversation between the receptionist and the recipient of Mr. Grubby Mitts, I relaxed into the sofa and browsed the selection of outdated magazines scattered on the end table. I had just found an interesting article on how to remodel your bathroom on a $50 budget, when my name was called and I was summoned to the desk of one of many bankers.
“How can I help you today?” Marylyn, the banker, was a heavily made-up woman probably in her early forties. She was pretty, but slightly artificial. Her tone was very calming and sincere. She was pleasant. I thought for certain that I might find her most helpful in my quest for the cure for boredom.
“Well, Marylyn, I need to open a second account.”
“I see,” she said with delight. “What type of account do you need?”
“Checking, I think. I’m going to be depositing a large sum of money into it in the next few days and I want to make sure those funds are readily available.” I tried to use my best banker-talk. I’d seen enough commercials and read enough of my own bank statements to know a few terms that were supposed to be important.
Marylyn looked confused. I thought perhaps I’d used the wrong words, but then I realized that she was more concerned with the fact that I, a very young lady, wanted to open a checking account. Her brows wrinkled together and her face held a slight frown.
“You need a checking account? Are you sure? How about a savings account? I think that might better suit your needs.”
“No, no, I have a savings account already. Besides, I need something separate from my personal funds that I can keep track of my business spending with. I think a checking account would be perfect.”
This seemed to confuse Marylyn further.
“Yes. I’m an entrepreneur.”
“I see.” She clearly did not. “Well, then, I’ll need to see proof of your age. You need to be at least sixteen to open a checking account.”
I had that covered. I pulled out my drivers’ license, which was valid, though brand new. I really had no use for it. Crazy Angie and I walked everywhere and I didn’t have a car or the use of my parents. It worked out fine for me. Everything I needed was within walking distance anyway.
Marylyn examined my license with intense scrutiny, but in the end decided that she really had no reason to deny my request.
“Tell me, what sort of business is it that you have?”
“Oh, I’d rather not say. It’s (ADD IN HERE. FILE ON COMPUTER AT WORK)
That evening we met back at Crazy Angie’s house. I was anxious to see how she’d done. I did all right, considering my audience. I’d spend about six hours playing the same five songs to an audience of twelve. Of the twelve, only eight could actually hear. All in all, I collected about twenty bucks. Five of those dollars I found in my mothers clothes dryer. Hey, that’s what she gets for asking me to bring up her laundry from the basement.
Crazy Angie did much better than me. We dumped our money out on her bed to count it. There was, of course, my small fortune and then there was her, much larger, jackpot. I watched, amazed as Angie pulled several thousand dollars from various places on her person. (I mean pockets! You are SICK! Absolutely SICK!) Just when I thought she was finished, she pulled out her wallet and emptied it.
“What is all this?”
“It’s money. Duh. Even I know that.”
“Well how did you get this? Is it legal?”
“Uh…I’m not exactly sure. But it’s untraceable. I didn’t steal it if that’s what you mean. It’s mostly gifts.”
“Gifts? Just what did you do to get these gifts?”
“I told you, modeling.”
“Ok, you’d better explain this.”
“Well, it works like this: I went down to the Central West End. You know all the nuts they have down there. All of those artsy people will pay to see anything they find artistic. Anyway, it’s more posing than modeling. But I set myself up as a tourist attraction. People pay to see me. I call myself the authentic lunatic. See, I’m not just a lunatic, but I’m authentic. That means I can charge more. I have a big cardboard box that I sit in and wait for customers. I charge them about five dollars to view the authentic lunatic, ten dollars to take my picture, and fifteen if they want to be in the picture with me. It worked really well.”
“I’ll say. What did you do, just stand there?”
“Well, no, of course not. People won’t pay for that. I was more of an art exhibit—dramatized. I did authentic lunatic things. You know—shouting and screaming, pulling at my hair, drooling, the whole bit.”
“Sure it is, but it’s the Central West End.”
I was truly amazed by Crazy Angie’s ability to raise so much money so fast. I didn’t exactly understand the principles or the ideas behind the Authentic Lunatic, but I am certainly not one to argue with her obvious talent for schmoozing the public.
After a few days of my piano concerts and the showing of the Authentic Lunatic, we had plenty of money for the building we wanted. Once all of the money was gathered and counted, I took it over to the Credit Union for deposit.