Letters to the Bouncy Banker...

Letters to the Bouncy Banker...
...from a struggling artiste.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Letter to the Bank #36

Dear Bank Manager,

Walking past the crossing guard this morning he hailed me with: “Ah! The man with the money!” Naturally I responded (as any good citizen would) with: “Ha! Yeh, right! When I have some extra cash I’ll give you some!” We are always exchanging quips but this one, I must admit, left me somewhat stunned. As I walked away it occurred to me that both of us knew this to be a joke. Money? Who has money these days? The idea of it is almost quaint! Which brings me to a pertinent question: Why don’t I have any money? You could as well apply it to yourself I’m sure…well maybe not you but perhaps someone you know…unless you are in the top one per cent of earners in which case this just doesn’t apply. For them what I write here is written in some kind of Alien language that simply does not compute.
We can breath again. They’ve gone.
Seriously though—I work, my wife works, our children make mud bricks in the back yard for board and lodging, we are even frugal in a middle-class-sort-of-frugal-way. One major reason for this would be the confirmed fact that real wages have pretty much been locked in since the seventies whilst the cost of living has skyrocketed, expanded much like a party balloon—oh my gosh! What an analogy! Like…like…like a balloon that is about to pop! Then, as soon as one has built up any savings a vulture comes down and eats them all up. This has happened to us a lot lately—flooding in the basement, two cars on the fritz and needing major repairs two weeks in a row to the point of do we keep them going or roll them in to another less old clunker. Is it better to stay with the devil you know or exchange him for one your car mechanic claims to know, if distantly. Then anxiety sends us to the doctor with back complaints and nasty scalp conditions that our health insurance (we are SO LUCKY to have health insurance) all of a sudden deems a pre-existing condition, or not covered in the small print, or covered but yet to be met by our various deductibles. By this point the hair is so easy to tear out.
I’d feel no pity whatsoever for said plight if I was homeless or jobless, or without health insurance. I’d probably feel the same way if I was a wealthy—how can I put this delicately—Republican. I’d probably scoff. I’d say: Well what do you expect you lazy, liberal, socialist, bohemian, HOBOhemian whiner—a hand out? I’d say it with gusto too! Funny that—you can imagine the very same words coming out of the mouths of the most disenfranchised in this our—society. Now there’s a party of possibilities, an alliance. If I were you I’d have stopped reading by now. They are right! Why should the banks undermine their profit motives to prop up individuals like my ignoble self who wish to be freed up from financial anxieties so they can daub with paint on canvas all day, or write their silly letters—or cut sharks in half (down to size so to speak). And why should the government get involved? They are already way over extended. Like the banks they have financial anxieties of their own. However I do feel compelled to point out that I remain in my ignobility, a good citizen. I pay my taxes toward the dubious common good. I keep paying the interest on my mortgage and credit cards and ever so occasionally pay something toward principal. Now if only you’d stop asking for all that exorbitant interest and let me pay down my principal we could all get back on track. Better that than me, and millions of others in the same boat, from defaulting. I do sometimes feel that if I take one step too many backwards I’ll fall into the biggest hole and the only option will be to walk away from it all. That isn’t an option anybody would choose lightly. Strangely though it is almost comforting to imagine the silver lining around the black, black cloud that has been hanging over one’s head—the loss of all that Sisyphean debt.

Yours sincerely,

K. Witherkay

PS—As a good-for-nothing laz-a-bout I’m thinking of making these letters into big paintings and then persuading corporate art collections to buy them. I really should do that. I will.

PPS—I asked my seven year old to draw a lazy monster AKA a lazy middle class bohemian monster like me, not that I tried to explain. The somewhat phallic nature of the drawing is, I assure you, unintentional.

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