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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Why, Oh Why Couldn’t They Have Given Me ‘6969’?

I had a rather embarrassing moment today.

(I know, what are the odds, right? Smartass.)

Anyway, it happened at around noon today. I got hungry, as many people do around that time, and so I went off in search of some lunch. On the way, I discovered that my total cash in hand was exactly two American dollars.

(Wrinkly ones, too, not even the nice, crisp, newly minted sort. Or even the titillating, lip-smacking creased-down-the-middle ones. You can imagine my disappointment.)

So, given that I was planning on eating way more than two dolla’ worth of food, I decided to make a run to the cash machine. As luck would have it, there’s an ATM for my back right in the food court where I was already headed. Nice! And, as luck would further have it, there was no line for the ATM when I got there. Sweet! And then, because luck likes to fuck with my head every chance it gets, I couldn’t remember the PIN for my check card. Damn! Finally, because luck is one persistent little whore, I also couldn’t remember the PIN for my Visa card. Bitches! Shut out, like a lactose intolerant dog. Damn, damn, damn!

Now, before you go snickering at me for brain-farting on my PIN codes, let me say something in my defense. Something weak and feeble and shaky, perhaps — picture grandma with a vibrator, if that helps — but something, nonetheless. When you don’t have strong arguments, you’re forced to go with the crap you’ve got. Ain’t my rules, folks.

Anyway, I think I can pretty much blame the whole mess on my bank. See, a couple of months ago, they issued us new bank cards. And yes, when I say ‘a couple of months‘, that could be anywhere from two real months to… oh, I don’t know, the Carter administration. But that’s not important — the crucial thing here is that they sent us new cards. Something about a ‘possible breach’ of their computer systems, and ‘not to worry’, that our ‘money is safe’, but that we should probably expect more spam from ‘Perked-Up Penises, Inc.’ for a few months. Or something — I didn’t really read the letter very closely.

The point is, they sent us new cards, and with them, new PINs. And PINs not of our choosing — these were random PIN codes. So I had no attachment to the thing at all — there was simply nothing in there for me to hold onto. It didn’t include my date of birth, or the jersey number of my favorite baseball star, or even the year when I lost my virginity. Hell, ’69’ wasn’t even in there, for chrissakes — what the hell kind of number is that? So, I promptly forgot it. I didn’t ask for a new PIN; I was more than happy with the old one, which I picked out all by my lonesome. I never forgot my old PIN. Sure, sometimes I mis-typed it, or got distracted and punched the button for Spanish-language instructions, so I didn’t know when the hell to enter it. But I never forgot it, not once. The new one was gone by the time I put down the letter. Those digits never stood a damned chance.

And the Visa PIN? What’s my excuse for it, you ask? Well… shit, I don’t know — age? Stupidity? Unexpected midday sobriety? Take your pick. Hell, I’m not even sure I have a PIN for the damned thing. I never had to use it, because I always had my handy-dandy check card, and I could get cash with it. Until now, that is. Now, my card is neither ‘handy’, nor ‘dandy’. It’s not even ‘randy’, baby.

(Though if I could use it to get me some of those creased-up dollar bills… then maybe. Just maybe.)

So. I got bupkis from the machine. And people started lining up to use the thing, and eyeballing me, so I gave up. (Or maybe people lined up to eyeball me, and then decided to use the machine. Damn, I should have asked. I never think to ask.) And at that point, my options were not good. On the one hand, I could go without lunch altogether, which is made tougher by the fact that I didn’t eat any breakfast this morning, so we’re talking about the prospect of starving myself for nearly twenty-four hours here, from dinner to dinner. And that sounds downright assy, if you ask me. Like a big, fat assy ass. Uncool.

The other option was to schlep my ass — sans coat on a freezy-weezy, wintry-breezy Boston day — six blocks back to my car to hit the stash of dollar bills that I keep in the little drawer on the dashboard.

(Um… excuse me a sec — ‘freezy-weezy, wintry-breezy‘?! What am I, Winnie the fuckin’ Poo all of a sudden? Where the hell did that come from? Man, I have got to stop snorting Windex on the weekends.)

Anyway, long story… um, slightly less long, I schlepped. I schlepped to get money, and then I schlepped my frozen ass back to the food court for a Subway sandwich. I’m not sure I can say it was worth the trip — a lukewarm half-assed sammich and flat Pepsi against twenty minutes of my life, four frostbitten cheeks, and nearly eight bucks of my hard-earned coin doesn’t really seem to stack up, frankly. But I got to eat, so I think it was the right thing to do, under the circumstances.

Of course, the right thing to do would be to learn my damned PIN, and then this shit wouldn’t happen. But I don’t see that happening anytime soon. For one thing, who knows where that letter telling me what the damned number is has gotten to? I’m sure by now I’ve lost it, or eaten it, or made the dog piss on it, so I wouldn’t have to take her outside. It could be anywhere. And stained with anything. I’m not really sure I want to find it. It might be scary. Hold me. Please?

(Um, sorry. Moving right along, then.)

So, I’ll soldier on, with my PIN forgotten and mooching off my wife for cash. It’s demoralizing, really. I mean, I never really want to be the one who gets money, trekking to the ATM to pull out cash for the family. But still, it would be nice to think that I could come up with some green in an emergency.

(You know, like if I were going to miss lunch, or have to trudge to my car for cash. Those sorts of emergencies.)

Clearly, though, it’s not to be. Somewhere out there, there’s a four-digit code that’ll let me get cash with my little piece of plastic. But I don’t know what it is, I’m afraid, and so I’ll never have money to call my own. Which is all right, I suppose — my wife hits the ATM often enough (usually), and doles out the cash on a regular basis. It’s actually pretty rare that I’m in need of mid-week dough.

Oh. Oh, shit. Mid-week, that’s right. This is only Thursday. I’m gonna have the same damned problem tomorrow, and now I’m running low on emergency dollar bills. Damn. Well, I guess that’s it. I’m not goin’ hungry tomorrow, so I guess I just have to find that piece of paper tonight, and figure out what my PIN is. And either staple the letter to my forehead, or tattoo the number across my knuckles, because I am not gonna remember it. Ugh. I just hope that letter doesn’t have dog drool all over it, or pee stains, or… well, worse. Yick!

All right, folks — I’m goin’ in. If I’m not back tomorrow, you’ll know that something happened, and that I’m sitting somewhere, trying to convince a bank teller that I was kicking his damned ATM out of love and respect, and no, I do not want to speak to the security guard on duty, nor do I want to see the surveillance tapes, and hey, get those damned cuffs off me, and whoa! — where the hell are you talking me, and what’s that thing, and look, buddy, I want no part of that, and… and… those aren’t pillows!!

Damn, all that trouble over four little numbers. You’d think it was the frickin’ Powerball or something. *sigh*

Permalink  |  5 Comments

5 Responses to “Why, Oh Why Couldn’t They Have Given Me ‘6969’?”

  1. jim says:

    hmmmm,PIN talk–I think I shall hang myself now.

  2. Charlie says:

    Cool! Hey, good luck with that, Jim.

    Remember, the bunny goes ’round and ’round the hole, and then you tighten it up. Happy hanging!

  3. scottobear says:

    Most food places let you swipe the card directly at the purveyor’s place… and you don’t need the pin at that point!

    Good luck on your next food-getting!

  4. Lara says:

    Next time have them process your card as CREDIT and not DEBIT and you won’t need the pin, just a pEn to sign the slip! And the best part? It’ll take longer to be deducted from your account which, in times when payday’s a long way off and you’re running a bit short (OK this may NOT have happened to YOU, but there may be OTHERS out there who are like me at times! ) Anyhow, when payday is a long way off and you’re running short this can be a HUGE help!

  5. Lara says:

    ps-who asked you Jim?! If you weren’t enjoying then why did you stick around to read it all? DUH! It’s called clicking on the RED LETTER X in the upper right corner. This is a friendly place…lets keep it that way! Our Charlie didn’t ask for your ABUSE! So hey…go X yourself!

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