The Other I

March 17, 2008

Life at 98

Filed under: Survival Strategies — theotheri @ 4:26 pm

With the assurance that 68 really isn’t as old as I might think, a friend sent me the following from The Times for my birthday yesterday:

A 98 year old  woman in the UK wrote this to her bank in Britain. The bank manager thought  it amusing enough to have it published in the Times.  

Dear Sir,
I am writing to  thank you for bouncing my cheque with which I endeavoured to pay  my plumber last month. By my calculations, three ‘nanoseconds’  must have elapsed between his presenting the cheque and the  arrival in my account of the funds needed to honour it. I refer,  of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my Pension, an  arrangement, which, I admit, has been in place for only thirty  eight years. You are to be commended for seizing that brief window  of opportunity, and also for debiting my account £30 by way of  penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.
My  thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has  caused me to rethink my errant financial ways. I noticed that  whereas I personally attend to your telephone calls and letters,  when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal,  overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has  become. From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a  flesh-and-blood person.My mortgage and loan payments will  therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at  your bank by cheque, addressed personally and confidentially to an  employee at your bank whom you must nominate. Be aware that it is  an offence under the Postal Act for any other person to open such  an envelope. Please find attached an Application Contact Status  which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it  runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or  her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative. Please  note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Solicitor, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must  be accompanied by documented proof.In due course, I will  issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in  dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28  digits but, again, I have modelled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of  flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further.  When you call me, press buttons as follows:

1 – To make an  appointment to see me.
2 – To query a missing payment.
3 –  To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.
4 –  To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.
5 –  To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to  nature.
6 – To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not  at home.
7 – To leave a message on my computer (a password to  access my computer is required. A password will be communicated to  you at a later date to the Authorised Contact.)
8 – To return  to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through to 8.
9 –  To make a general complaint or inquiry, the contact will then be  put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering  service. While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait,  uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.  

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also  levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new  arrangement.

May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly  less prosperous, New Year.

Your Humble  Client

My fantasy is that “Humble Client” wrote the above in collusion with her 12-year-old great grandson.  I haven’t a shred of evidence to support such a jolly collaboration, since I know nothing about the writer or her family.  It’s just that sometimes the very old and the very young often share a certain irreverence that delights me, and I like to think that was the case.

 PS:  Thank you, DJ, for the birthday wishes.  They worked.  It was a great birthday.  

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