>>> The Rollercoaster of Drama
By staff writer Simonne Cullen
October 23, 2005

First week of college all the banks around town have set up their quaint little tents on campus. Attached to these tents are nice-looking men in business suits offering you free checking and savings accounts. It’s funny to watch each bank representative compete for your money. But whichever do you choose? This bank is closest to your dorm, but charges you twenty-five dollars each bounced check. That bank gives you a “get out of jail free card” but you’d have to drive to get there, and unless they’re going to give you an interest-free car loan on top of that get out jail free card your money is going elsewhere. But how smart can these guys be? They welcome you with a smile and a promise that if you keep your money in their bank, you’ll never regret it—you know, all $300 of it.

I feel really bad for the students with out-of-state banks who are forced by their manipulative parents to send any checks that need to be deposited, home every week. Not only is your paycheck delayed another week, but when your friends don’t have any beer and are forced to write you a check to pick them up booze, you’re now going to get that dreaded phone call from your mom:

“Honey, who’s Hannah Clearly?”

“My neighbor. Why?”

“Well I just casually glanced at these checks you need me to deposit for you and it she seems to give you one each month. Why is that?”

“Sorry you have to count up my deposits and tsk at the Captain Morgan check, but you work in a bank which means counting is your hobby lady, drinking is mine. Now give me a lollipop.”

Then there’s that awkward silence when you know she’s waiting for you to convince her that a) you’re not buying alcohol for minors, b) why, pray tell, are you hanging out with people who are spending thirty to fifty dollars a month on booze, and c) if they’re underage, why are they scribbling “Captain Morgan” on the memo section of their check?

You know what drives me crazy? Long lines in the bank during rush hour. You know, between your last class of the day and dinner time. Especially if you go to school in a big city and the bank looks like one giant U.N. congregation on Take Your Child to Work Day. There are not enough free lollipops in the world to keep these kids entertained for the thirty minute wait. And have you ever seen an overly concerned mother take the lollipop from her kid so he can safely run around knocking into people’s knees playing tag with the other children safely? But then the kid starts wailing obnoxiously for the sucker (a situation rivaling the screaming babies in a nice restaurant for Most Aggravating Environment Ever). Waaa waaa waa waa I want the…give me the… please mommy! There is no language barrier with crying. Waaa waaa in Polish is the same annoying Waa waa in English. Everyone understands it, and everyone pleads silently for her to give the kid back his sucker. Risking his life is obviously better than listening to him screech like a banchee. It’s the one and only time when you don’t think the creepy looking guy five people down in front of you is a pervert when he offers the kid his entire pack of Altoids and tells the kid to share them with his new friends. Curiously strong mints to us will knock anyone under the age of seven right on their ass.

You know what drives me even more crazy than waiting in the ethnically diverse line to infinity? The people who talk on their cell phones really loudly. Especially older men in business suits who are balding horribly on the back of their heads and talking business—dirty business: “So Jerry the other night what happened between you and that girl at the bar? Oh Jerry you dirty dog you…she had legs that went all the way up to her whoo-whoos!” DUDE SERIOUSLY! No one cares! And now the small child behind me is asking his mother what whoo-whoo’s are. But the same guy can say the same thing in Polish and I’m fine with it—probably because the only thing that translates are “whoo-whoos,” and I’ll just assume he’s talking about a train.

When you finally reach the bank teller, what the hell do you call that look they shoot you when you don’t have all of your forms filled out? It’s as if her eyes are trying to communicate to you that she cannot believe you waited until now to fill the forms out. Or that there’s no way in the half hour it took to reach her that you couldn’t have done the simple math. But fuck her, even if you fill it out all in advance she goes back to check it anyway. I’m sorry sweetheart, it’s less work for me and the same amount of work for you. Just shoot her a look back that says, “I’m sorry you have to count up my deposits and tsk at the Captain Morgan check, but you work in a bank which means counting is your hobby lady, drinking is mine. Now give me a lollipop before I catch one of these runaway toddlers and beat you with it.”

I was once almost run over in my bank’s parking lot by some guy peeling out going at least 50mph. Listen, I know that you’re frustrated when you leave the bank and are happy to get the hell out of there and on with your life, but I don’t know what was more disconcerting, the fact that the driver was my best friend Ag’s brother or the fact that he lived a hundred feet from the bank and drove there.

You’ll always know who cheats at Monopoly right away when you casually set the game board on the coffee/dinner/dancing/drinking table and one guy immediately screams, “I’m the banker! I’m the banker! I call banker! Banker’s mine!” Whoa! Slow down there Rowdy Eager McFuck, all I did was place the game on table so I can reach the deck of playing cards easier. Who the hell wants to play drinking Monopoly anyway? Strip Monopoly sure, but we’re in a room with a bunch of dudes and no one wants to see your weiner anymore than necessary. We’re playing asshole and you are sooo it.

Fuck Monopoly, remember Guess Who? That was the best game! Parker Brothers should release Guess Who – The College Version where you’ve got a bunch of pictures of people on campus and then you and your roommate can play a rousing game of Guess Who I Hooked Up With Last Night? How much fun would that be? Did he have glasses? No. Click click click. Does he have subtle acne scars? Yes. Click click click click click click. Does he play on a sports team? Yes. Click click click. Is he considered somewhat bi-curious? Possibly. Click click. Omigod is it Aaron? Is it Aaron?!! YES!

But back to real banks, ever get that downhill rollercoaster feeling at two in the morning when you can’t remember if you have enough money in your account? And the wave of fear just rests on top of you where preferably a warm body should be, but instead you go to your computer and check your account online. Typing furiously away on your keyboard, beads of sweat are dripping down your forehead, and your roommate is sighing loudly because you’ve woken her up with your tick tick tick of the keys frantically trying to balance your checkbook, only to realize that you have $2 in your account. Anyone will agree those are the luckiest two dollars you will ever own. You know what you should do? When you get more dollars, take those lucky two dollars and buy two lottery tickets. That way if you win you can go back up to Snotty McBitch Face at the bank and hand her a filled out deposit slip, slam the traditional big beige sack of money with a dollar sign on it in front of her and revel in the satisfaction of watching her have to recount all twenty million for you. Trust me, it’s so much better than beating her with a baby…but not by much.

We all know America is somehow the most modern and advanced country in the world, so why in the fuck can ATM’s only distribute currency in the form of twenties? Is it too complicated for the modern man to develop a machine that can give you tens, fives, maybe even ones if you need it? What about that gold Sacagawea coin? I’m sure they’d be a lot more popular if they were dispensed by ATM’s. It would also send off that delightful casino jackpot sound I’m sure makes us all a tad happier and helps us forget that we just overdrew by a whole quarter.

But we need different sizes of ATM currency. Especially if you’re taking out money just to pay someone back, and you only owe them $33 and have to give them $40. You know you’re never going to see that seven dollars back ever, and just have to hope against hope that someday down the line the same guy is going to owe you $45 and has to hand over $60 so he can have a taste of what a sloppy broke asshole you feel like right now.

Any why do ATM’s only develop brain power at three in the morning when you’re drunk at a cash station? Ever confronted an ATM while hammered and entered your birthdate where the pin number should be? Then after three attempts it decides you’ve stolen this card and takes it! It just eats it! Why does it eat your card and not the screaming kids in the bank? There’s no way of getting it back! You can hit that bitch as much as you want, unplug it and wrap the cord around its neck and take a giant crowbar to its screen (all ATM’s like it rough) but face it, you’re never seeing Mr. Plastic again.

No matter where you go to school, whether you live on campus or off, the closest ATM machine will never be the one your card is from, and you will always be charged that godforsaken $2 fee. Just make sure it’s not your lucky two dollars, those bad boys are for winning the big six.