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Monday, April 11, 2011

Once Upon a Walk

April 11, 2011: Greetings! I'm glad you could join me again. I have so many things planned to share with you ... and yet I'll probably fail to get to most of them, so adjust your expectations accordingly.

To begin, I enjoyed a marvelous walk last afternoon -- and in fact covered 6.75 miles, which I hope impresses those of you who see me only as a brilliant intellect, and not the strapping physical specimen others of you know me to be. (You know who you are! Don't pretend!) The details I'll spare you, as they mostly involve trees and no one wants to hear about them unless they fall over. However, early on, I had an interesting (well, not really) experience at the bank machine that got me to thinking, as bank machine experiences are wont to do.

You see, as I set out from town, I needed to make a stop to deposit a check I was carrying for $4.96. (I get a lot of these little checks, actually, though most of them aren't for amounts even that large -- usually under a dollar. If you want to know the details, please write me and I'll tell you more, but I'd rather not have to right now, as I'm very busy.)

Anyway, as I walked up to the door, a guy came out and declared, "If you're gonna make a deposit, don't, 'cause it just ate my money." He was distraught, and briefly detailed that he'd just called his wife (although I'm still not clear why), and they were leaving on vacation to Florida in the morning and he'd needed to put the $600 in the account, but the machine (as machines will do, left to their own devices) had simply eaten the money and then denied any involvement, and he was bumming.

I offered my sympathies and suggested it would all work out, as they'd have to see there was an unaccounted $600 in the coiffers the next morning (hopefully, unless the machine had somehow funneled it to the Contras or the Tea Party representatives or something). He was amenable to the thought, and almost good-humoredly declared it a mere annoyance after all. He somehow alluded to his wife again, which was starting to get on my nerves. Then, at the same time, interestingly, we both said that he should best simply "breathe" and it would all work out swimmingly.

The point of this whole story, which really unfolded after I walked away (certainly not willing to chance losing my $4.96 check) is one of Racial Awareness (or R.A., as I've coined it merely for the purposes of this entry, and will subsequently forget coining by the time I get to the next paragraph). Regular Blah-ugh! readers will recall several insightful essays I've shared involving how, despite my far-liberal social leanings, I sometimes can't help being the product of a race-conscious upbringing (or a race-conscious something. Maybe it wasn't my upbringing. Perhaps it was my downfalling. Who really knows?)

The point is, I began to speculate on whether his being black was going to impact his chances at getting his money back. (See, I hadn't mentioned that he was black. And how many of you Whiteys out there thoughtlessly drew a picture of a white man at the ATM, and were -- even for an instant -- surprised by this disappointed customer's blackness? ... Come now. Be honest. (You racist scum! You're even worse than I am!))

Yes, I was thinking his credibility could be called into serious jeopardy by the sight of his skintone at the ATM camera. ("Hmmm," I could hear the corporation heads concurring. "He could be a liar. He is, after all, pretty black.")

This, in turn, got me to wonder whether a white man was necessarily a better risk where such an event was concerned. Certainly not an Italian (like myself, and I'm not even one of your swarthier ones!), although the Irish may not fair any better, especially the ones with red hair ... It seems an Asian might be a good bet, as they're a notoriously hard-working and honest people (although they can be very loud when you're riding on the subway) ... Better still to be Jewish (also like myself), for they're just fat with money (although I'm one of the rare exceptions) and they're reputedly honest (although very loud, in many cases).

This led me to decide that it might be a good idea to start wearing a yarmulke every time I use the ATM, just in case the machine backfires. I can keep one in my car, and while they never seem to fit me right, I don't think the quality of those cameras is that fine.

It's wonderful the range of fulfillment one discovers on a typical late-afternoon walk!

NEXT WEEK: More sophistry and perhaps less punctuation.


  1. there are no ATMs where i walk, but there is an old bull dog in a kennel by a field of spring collards and he barks mournfully when i pass by . . . i am always tempted to let him loose, but am afraid i'd be accused of stealing collards

  2. There is—and I really don't think I'm alone in thinking this, but you'll have to back me up here; the evidence is anecdotal and, as such, severely limited—no such thing as too much punctuation. Eighteenth-century correspondence is teeming with it. Positively riddled, even. Dashing dashes! Excessive and expressive semi-colons. Elipses....many, many elipses. But Dashes especially. That and Random and entirely UnExpected use of capital Letters. As with most things (if not everything) too much is never enough. And that goes for sophistry, too.