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Old Enough to Remember

by Michael D. Brooks

“Geez, Pop! That was pretty caustic.”

“Damn straight they caused it.”

“No, Pop. Not ‘caused it’, caustic.”

“That’s what I said. They caused it.”

“Pop. I’m not talking about the reason. I was talking about... Oh, never mind. What I was trying to say was that you were using some pretty colorful language there.”

“What do you mean colorful? I was speaking clear English. And I wasn’t calling nobody names. I was just stressing how I felt. It’s not my fault the person on the other end of the line can’t speak good English. If they can’t speak English they shouldn’t be handling phone calls.”

“You know. I actually agree with that. And I can’t believe I just said that.”

“I can’t believe you said it either, but I’m glad you agree with me.”

“Conditionally, Pop. I agree with you conditionally.”

“I should have known it was too good to be true. You wouldn’t be the smart-ass I know and love if you did.”

“Very funny, Pop. Okay, what was the reason why you felt you had to stress your feelings?”

“The damn credit card company was charging me a finance charge for paying off my account early. Can you believe that? They had the nerve to charge me one dollar because I paid off my balance early.”

“That sucks.”

“Damn straight it sucks. So I gave them a call to clear it up and they gave me a hard time. Do you know how many buttons I had to push before I finally got a live person? And then I ended up talking to somebody in some other country. So I gave them a piece of my mind.”

“I hope you didn’t give them your last piece.”

“Very funny, smart-ass. I got plenty more where that came from.”

“Well, you know, Pop, we are living in a more modern age. It’s all part of the new world order.”

“New world order, my butt. It’s all part of the new corporate greed. I can remember a time—”

“Oh, brother. Here it comes.”

“What did I tell you about interrupting your elders?”

“Sorry, Pop.”

“Now where was I? Oh, yeah. I can remember a time when you could open up a bank account with a dollar and you didn’t have to pay a penalty fee because you didn’t have to keep a minimum balance. And they paid you six percent interest.”

“Wow. That was such a long time ago, Pop.”

“Yeah, it was. But it could be that way again if them damn companies weren’t so greedy. As soon as the government stopped regulating big businesses, them companies started ripping people off. They started charging people for everything they could think of. Anyway they could make money off of the back of the working man, they did. And they still do. And I remember when it all started.”

“When was that, Pop?”

“Back in the eighties.”

“Wow, Pop. That was eons ago. Weren’t dinosaurs still around back then?”

“Shut up, smart-ass, and let me finish.”

“Sure, go ahead.”

“It all started with them charging people for filling out deposit slips and withdrawal slips. And it just took off from there. Then they got chintzy on the interest. They started telling people how much they had to put in or else they started taking money out because you weren’t rich enough to keep the minimum balance in the bank. Do you know how many poor kids lost their savings because they couldn’t afford to keep a thousand-dollar balance?”

“No, Pop. I never really thought about it before.”

“And if you could afford to keep the balance that they told you you had to keep, they still charged you for something. Do you know that one bank had the nerve to charge me an inactivity fee?”

“What the heck is an inactivity fee, Pop?”

“It’s when you put money in the bank and don’t touch it for a year. They charged me a fee because I didn’t touch my own money for a year — even though they were using it. Then they had the nerve to tell me that if I used one of them MAC machines, I would’ve still been charged an inactivity fee because I needed to walk into the bank and make a deposit or withdrawal directly.”

“They’re called ATM’s today, Pop.”

“I know that. I wasn’t born yesterday, you know.”

“As you so often remind me. So what did you do, Pop?”

“I took my money out of the bank. That’s what I did.”

“So where’d you put your money?”

“Not in a bank, that’s for damn sure. The problem is you got to put your money somewhere and pay your bills. But some people believe they can get along without banks. That’s why some people still keep their money in a mattress or something.”

“You know, Pop. I understand where you’re coming from, I just don’t share your opinion about banks.”

“You wouldn’t because you’re too young to remember and you’re conditioned to swallow all that bull-crap. I come from a different time when things were simpler. I’m old enough to actually remember when people used to rob banks instead of banks robbing people.”

“No offense, Pop, but the way you talk, sometimes I wonder if that’s not all you’re old enough to remember.”

“Shut up, smart-ass. You just wait. You better hope you’re going to be old enough to remember things one day.”

Copyright © 2011 by Michael D. Brooks

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