Last week the manager of the neighborhood HEB told me the store no longer accepts checks written with pink ink. They would take mine this time, but in the future…
What a shame. I’ve always thought my colored ink–especially the pink–added a certain flair to my checks. I imagined it made people in the back office happy to see pink ink. I believed my checks provided a bright moment in their dreary numerical lives.
I wheeled groceries to my car thinking of Amy, my first paralegal instructor, who said she signed everything in purple. I wondered whether the Bexar County District Clerk has since told her to stop it.
But I digress.
We now return to grocery store, where we are reminded that Shakespeare’s themes are indeed universal, and that perfectly nice people still suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and bear the Oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s Contumely, the insolence of Office, and–especially–the Spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes. To wit:
Yesterday I wrote another check to HEB–in black ink this time–for $48.26; but on the second line I spelled out forty-six. I considered voiding the check and writing another, but instead struck through the six, wrote eight above it, and initialed the change. I also wrote my phone and drivers license numbers. Handing the check and my license to the cashier, I said, “I made a correction. Is that all right?”
The cashier looked at my check. She looked at my license. She looked at me. At the license. At me. At the check…and so on, back and forth. I wished she would stop.
Just when I was on the verge of offering to write another check, or, better yet, pulling out my credit card, she said, “You didn’t spell this right.”
“It needs an h.”
She pointed to the word eight.
“It’s spelled correctly,” I said. It had an h. Adding another would have made it eighth.
She looked at me, looked at the check. Examining the check, she appeared confused, but the looks she gave me were accusing. Frown. Narrowed eyes. You know the look I’m talking about.
Now I was on the verge of saying, I have known how to spell eight since I was seven years old, so there! But again I remained silent.
Finally she hit on a solution. She set the check on the counter, dotted the i, and went over the word, tapping each letter with the point of her pen. Then she said, “Okay,” ran the check through the little machine thingy, and handed me the receipt. I gathered my groceries and left.
It was fortunate our conversation ended there, because I’d been on the verge of saying, In fifth grade, I won the district University Interscholastic League spelling and plain writing contest with a perfect paper, which means I closed all my o‘s and a‘s and made the k‘s and l‘s taller than the t‘s and d’s, AND I dotted all the i’s. And I didn’t misspell eight.
Walking across the parking lot, I once more noted my unfortunate resemblance to Frasier. I didn’t go to Harvard, but I know how to spell eight, and I left the i undotted for aesthetic reasons. Nyah nyah nyah.