It is almost Valentine’s Day and I am still trying to clean up from Christmas, figuratively speaking.
I forgot to bring cash to our Christmas trip with my siblings (sorry Santa) and so inevitably I owed various of them money by the end of the trip:
– My brother because he picked up alcohol for us (Tito’s Vodka, thumbs medium, and the biggest bottle of Vermouth I have ever seen; the next generation will surely be secretly nipping off of this in about 10 years from the family liquor cabinet).
– My one sister, because as Queen of the Siblings, she was collecting the money for the trip.
Being a 21st century kind of person, I sent them each a check from my account. Meaning, my online banking account. I ran out of my last “emergency” paper checks, oh, last year sometime and I have yet to replace them.
I have not replaced my paper checks because I do everything from my online account, as I have for years. This detail becomes important later: I have even sent my sister a check from my online account in the past.
I felt so virtuous: I sent checks in a timely fashion to my respective siblings. Usually this would be something I would mean to do for months, the slight nagging guilt quietly eating away at me, typically remembered at times when I could do nothing: in the middle of the night, in the shower, or while driving, et cetera.
Good intentions (with guilt) is a common practice among my family, in fact: just this Christmas 2012, said Queen Sister gave me my Christmas card and $100 cash from our Grandpa…from Christmas 2011. She said she was proud that she still knew exactly where it was after a year (on the butcher’s block in her kitchen, to be precise).
Knowing my siblings, I followed up just to sure they got their checks.I checked in with my brother: he said he had received no check. We waited a week. I checked in again. Nope, no check. He even reviewed his account, just to be sure he didn’t deposit it and forget somehow. Nope, no deposits.
Meanwhile, my sister was AWOL and hadn’t responded to my many inquiries into the status of her payment. I assumed it was safely relegated to the butcher’s block.
Since my brother has so clearly not received his payment, I follow up with The Bank, and make an “official inquiry.” After a week, I got an email back from the bank saying there were no Bank errors (sure, I think) but they will keep investigating “as a courtesy.”
Shortly after this, my brother and I have an email exchange:
“I have the check in hand. It is dated January 2nd.”
I immediately assume that The Bank has quickly issued this check, with the original date, to cover their big fat Bank Ass. And I tell my theory to my brother. The expressions “fuckers” and “took their sweet time” were involved.
He replied, “It was actually in my wallet the whole time.”
The whole time. The entire month of me emailing, texting, making official inquiries. The whole time.
So of course, I call my sister to report this ludicrous and classic story of our brother and the check-in-his-wallet. She interrupted me before I could even start telling her why I am calling to inform me about the status of her check.
She too has now scoured her bank account and has no record of having deposited the check I sent her. It takes a few minutes of going around until I think to clarify that I sent it directly from my online checking account.
“What does this mean?” she asks me.
I don’t even know how to answer this. Is it a trick question? “It means I sent a check directly from my online account.”
“So it would just appear in my account?”
“No,” I reply. “It’s still a check. It just would have arrived directly from The Bank, you know, in a bank envelope.”
She replied without missing a beat. “Oh, I probably threw that away.”
Ben from The Bank called me later that day to continue The Bank’s Official Follow Up in the Case of the Missing Brother Check. He said he had to ask me some questions.
“Well, I can probably answer them right now,” I said. “My brother found the check in his wallet.
He stifled a laugh and continued with, “Ok, let me ask you a few questions to verify your identity and then I can move forward with that.”
I like that The Bank still has to verify me…I just told you that my brother (same last name as the check that went missing) found the check I reported hadn’t arrived before you even told me why you were calling. Doesn’t that information verify me? Is there someone answering my phone pretending to be me who already knows I wrote a check to Brother Ferguson, then claimed it went missing? The world is full of deviants.
After we sort out that I am indeed me, and yes, my brother did indeed have the check…in his wallet…the whole time…Ben asks if there is anything else he can help me with.
For a moment, I consider saying no, just to save a little family face. “Ah, yes, actually, I also talked to my sister today and she said that she is pretty sure she threw away the check I sent her.”
At this point, I had to hand it to Ben, he was very professional and did not once accuse me of messing with him. He simply cancelled the sister check and made sure to tell me about 3 more times that the brother check would need to be cashed or it would be void soon.
“Does your brother understand this?” Ben asked me gently.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that we are actually all superior-IQ adults (although clearly it doesn’t translate to all arenas of life). I just assured him that I would be sure my brother understood.
All along the way of the Check Adventure, I was feeling very smug. I am the technologically advanced, exceptional sibling who not only sent the checks but did my due-diligence in following up numerous times with each sibling and The Bank. I have got my shit together all right.
Then this morning, as I sat down to reissue the check to my sister, I noticed one small detail: somehow I had neglected to update my sister’s address in my fancy online Bank Account. Apparently, I sent her check to 2 houses and 5 years ago.
Oh how Pride Goeth.