Your Words Cut Loose the Fire And You

Time and events are rushing past me. I’m struggling to keep more balls in the air than a condom factory. Yeah, I kiss my sweet old Grandpa with that mouth.

Yesterday, we embarked on the annual bond-buying extravaganza. If you’re just joining Poor Impulse Control: Pete and I have two brothers and five sisters. I also have three first cousins and one grown daughter. Between all these crazy people, who must smell good to someone, we have sixteen children who need Christmas and birthday presents every year and I have a very, very short attention span. Further: you should never underestimate how much I do not want to shop where I have to interact with the other humans, so I skip all that and buy the kids goddamn savings bonds. Yesterday was that red letter day.

Pete brought home forms from his bank. I filled them out. Checked them. Checked them again. Figured out how much they’d cost. Finally, we were ready. We grabbed our forms and a buttload of cash and went to a regular-sized branch, which was empty and nearly silent when we walked in. A greeter directed us to the one cashier behind the counter. I explained what we were doing and in slow motion everyone in that building went a little crazy.

Suddenly other customers grumbled behind me and a quartet of brunette cashiers waltzed behind the counter, seemingly unable to complete transactions. Apparently, my cashier was the only one with a key to something because customer after customer was told that everything had to wait until after my transaction was finished. By coincidence, the ATM machine was being repaired and nobody could do anything about the drive-through customers for some reason I couldn’t divine. Meanwhile, my cashier could only enter a few bonds at a time and we didn’t agree on money.

Tata: I owe you more money than this.
Cashier: Let me count it again.
Everyone else in the room: GROAN.

That happened at least four times. One of the brunette cashiers sidled up to mine, eyes on me the whole time and whispered confidentially, “Are yooooo okay?” My cashier was a no-nonsense broad. She barked, “Leave me alone, willya?” As my transaction proceeded, the level of panic in the bank rose palpably. I spoke calmly in short sentences and in a voice that could not be mistaken for threatening. The other cashiers made few efforts that I saw to assist the customers behind me – though every time I turned around the people behind me seemed different. Finally, we reached an accord about what was being ordered and how much money I should have paid for it all. The cashier handed me back a $50 in triumph. My receipts did not add up. In the car, I said, “Hey Pete, don’t be surprised if your bank asks you to hokey pokey in some other dancehall.”

Treasury Direct used to sell savings bonds online, but quit because credit card fees cut into the selling price. Seems to me now would be a fine time for the Treasury to tell banks savings bonds were fee-exempt.

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