Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Financial Career

One of Canada's most recognized writers from a past generation was Stephen Leacock (1869-1944). Born in England, Leacock's family emigrated to Canada and settled on a farm near Sutton, Ontario. Many of his summers were spent in Orillia, Ontario, not too far from where I live.

The short piece of Leacock's work that I recall most vividly is his "My Financial Career." Check it out here. Banks and Leacock weren't good friends. Likely enemies. I can relate! My first job after graduating from my 2nd year in Grade 12 was with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. I persevered for two months then made a withdrawal. I removed myself from the bank and deposited myself in the family business for 7 years before buying the local Christian bookstore which I kept afloat with God's help for 15 years with frequent visits to the bank manager. How I despised those visits!

When you live on the edge, with no visible means of support, eking out a hand to mouth (God's hand to my mouth) existence, banks can be a life saver or a curse. You're always waiting for "the call" when the crusty clerk calls to say that your cheque was made of rubber. The bank statements arrive in the mail and you quickly shred them and line the bird cage with the pieces. You never read them. You hate bad news!

With modern technology we can stick a plastic card in a metal machine and get paper money for free or at least that's what my kids think. Insert the card, enter your PIN and the amount needed than pray fervently that NOT APPROVED doesn't flash on the screen. I've seen those dreaded words far too often., this morning for example, and this may have prompted me to write this post.

You only have $5.00 left in your pocket and you need gas in the car. You know your credit card is maxed, your chequing account is taxed and you have to make a choice. Rather than suffer embarassment twice you choose to pay cash and go without milk. How come the outstanding balance owing on your card is always higher than you thought and the available balance in your bank account is always lower than you guessed?

It's not that the bank employees I've dealt with in recent years have been hard to deal with. On the contrary they have been exceptional. They had to be to deal with me! All twelve managers in the last eight years have been understanding women. Not a guy in the group. I wonder why. Of course it takes a month or two to explain what "living by faith" is all about. A foreign concept. You work but you might not get paid. Such uncertainty! When the tellers see me coming they know that I either have to do some juggling or another miracle has happened. Some unknown donor has taken pity and sent along a charitable gift.

Will there be financial institutions in heaven? I'm banking on the assurance that there won't be any such thing. I pray that there won't be. No need! The Giver of every good and perfect gift will be enthroned there. We will have all we Him.

'Til then I guess I have to make my treks to the TD Canada Trust after waiting for the mailman's miracle deliveries either to make a deposit or arrange a loan to carry me 'til the next miracle.

Am I stressed? YES! Do I need to be? NO!

I've been writing this while waiting for the mailman to arrive. It's two o'clock. He should arrive soon. Maybe this is the day!

Excuse me while I check the mailbox.



1 comment:

  1. Fish,

    Stop by my place for milk next time your in the city.