Thursday, September 08, 2011

Check It Out

     I had a sort of flashback the other day as I was writing out some bills - the type of flashback that people have in movies when they are having a heart attack or get hit be a car or something, and they are lying on the pavement trying to summon the will to carry on.  It was there, right before my eyes plain as day, and it had to do with my checkbook.
      I am not sure what prompted my vision, if it was the fact that I was writing out my bills (late, too by the way) and I scratched out the series of lines and loops that qualifies as my signature, or if it was the lady at the big box retailer in line in front of me on Senior Day who wanted to get a rain check on eight plastic storage containers and had to double...triple...quadruple check that she was going to be able to get the Senior Day discount AND sale price when she came in to get more and who then proceeded to write a check for her purchases and was so slow and pokey that all four people in line behind me got served by another checker while I was waiting for her because I was next in line and didn't want to bolt and have to go stand at the back of a new one.  It was one of those things that prompted my flashback.
      I flashed back in my mind to the time when I got my first checkbook and started writing checks in earnest.  Back then, it seemed like the coolest thing.  I actually remember taking it super seriously at first, and actually spending time contemplating how I was going to fill them out, thinking hard about how I was going to write the date (almost always in full - today would be written September 8, 2011), how I was going to sign it (very illegibly) and all that stuff.  It was one of the ultimate signs of adulthood, and I was stoked.  I didn't even write a whole lot of checks, and I still don't.  But I was still super stoked.
      The surprising thing is that - for as excited as I was all that time ago, and as "seriously" as I took having a checkbook back then - that I have never balanced my checkbook like a good boy.  Nope, never.  And I will admit that it has gotten me in trouble a time or two, but not often.  I would love to be able to sit here and pawn the blame off on the fact that we live in a computer age and that my account balance is available with just a click on the Internet, but I didn't balance my checkbook even before online banking became the norm.  I always have a sort of running total in my mind and I just go through life.  Scary, isn't it?  But it seems to work for me.
     I do not use my checkbook for a whole lot anymore, other than to pay bills.  And to be truthful I never used it for much more than that anyway.  I do, however, plan to continue to pay by bills by check.  I like that method because it forces me to sit down and confront my bills each month, so I am sort of forced to look at what is going on.  Plus, by actually physically writing out the check I tend to remember it more, and it helps with that mental balancing I talked about earlier.  I am also still true to all those decisions that I made as to how I was going to fill out all the lines on that most adult of things to have - a checkbook.

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