The Minister of Finance

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I had a meeting at the bank the other day. This was an extraordinarily rare occurence, you must understand. I think the last time I went anywhere near a bank was to arrange a mortgage back when Hall and Oates were a big hit on the radio.

I don’t do the banking in our family. My wife, a former loans manager herself, has always been a numbers person. So I have earned the income..and she has doled it out. It works for us. That setup might be a problem for someone like Tiger Woods, for example, but it has meshed nicely for us.

For this reason my wife has done her very best to keep me away from anything that involves payroll deposits, withdrawal statements, the transfer of funds and bank accounts in general. Once in a blue moon there is something that requires my personal attendance at a financial institution and then The Frau ensures that she is right there by my side.

A couple of times, though, she has been unable to accompany me and has had to send me in there alone. I usually arrive with a note pinned to my jacket that reads something like :

Mr. Gerry is here to sign something that has already been exhaustively pre-arranged with your staff. Please put the pen in his hand and physically point him to the right line on the document. Do not, under any circumstances, ask him any questions that may require even a rudimentary knowledge of money management. Once he has signed the form please turn him around and quickly walk him out of your institution. You may give him a cookie.

Signed: The Minister of Finance

And this is the way it is supposed to work. The only time such an arrangement comes off the rails is if, when I walk up to the bank counter,  I encounter some freckle-faced young clerk who has just started their job. Then, folks, all bets are off. It has happened that I’ll be asked an impossibly complex question like : Is this a savings account or a chequeing account? And my eyes will widen with alarm ,much like those of an gazelle which has suddenly been caught unaware by a lion at a watering hole.

No questions, please!

I will stammer and sweat and point to my note. I may say something like , ‘I was unaware there would be a test! ‘. Generally I will handle the situation with all the coolness and aplomb of a six year old who has wound up in the Lost and Found department. Which, sadly, is pretty much the case.


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