96-year-old bank note
The following is an actual letter that was sent to a bank by a 96 year-old woman. The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in
the New York Times.
To whom it may concern,
I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which I endeavored
to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must
have elapsed between his depositing the check and the arrival in my
account of the funds needed to honor it. I refer, of course, to the
automatic monthly transfer of funds from my modest savings account, an
arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only thirty-one 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 recently become. From
now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person.
My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer be
automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by check, addressed personally
and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.
Be aware that it is an offense under the Postal Act for any other person
to open such an envelope.
Please find attached an Application Contact Status form 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 Notary Public, 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 modeled 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.
Please allow me to level the playing field even further. When you call
me, you will now have a menu of options on my new voice mail system to
Please press the buttons as follows:
To make an appointment to see me.
To query a missing payment.
To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.
To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.
To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.
To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home.
To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer is
required. Password will be communicated to you at a later date to the
To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 7.
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 of $50 to cover the setting up of
this new arrangement. Please credit my account after each occasion.
May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous, New Year.
Your Humble Client…
(Remember: This was written by a 96 year old woman)
Yet I’ve come to realize that there is something important about having mile markers in life. They force us to stop long enough to measure where we are in life and to assess the true significance of what we are devoting our time and attention to. When I hit the ancient mark of 35, I remember feeling like a kid who had a five-dollar bill and had spent half of it any way he wanted only to realize that he only had $2.50 left. I figured if I only had half of my life left, I wanted to spend it in wise and fruitful ways. I wanted to minimize my regrets and maximize my opportunities. Things of long-term significance like my wife and kids became more important to me. How I used and where I spent my money took on a greater sense of significance. And the work of Christ through me became a more pressing priority.
Thinking about the work of Jesus reminds me that birthdays also help us to keep in mind that year-by-year we are closer to our final destination. One of the wisest things we can do is to remember that the only thing of true value here is what we do for eternity. Using your time, talents, emotions, energy, and cash for the cause of Jesus on this earth will result in rewarding outcomes in heaven.
Imagine stepping onto the other side and realizing that we have brought nothing with us of eternal worth. Think of looking into the face of Jesus and realizing that the only things we have with us are the wood, hay, and straw of earth-side stuff (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). If we don’t let the markers of life remind us of how close heaven is, we may make the mistake of pouring our lives into the bottomless bucket of stuff that doesn’t really make a difference after all.
Thank God for birthdays! They remind us that life is short and that heaven is near. If you take them seriously, you may just stand a chance of making it home with more than an empty bucket.
Every fact that the disciples stated was right, but the conclusions they drew from those facts were wrong. Anything that has even a hint of dejection spiritually is always wrong. If I am depressed or burdened, I am to blame, not God or anyone else. Dejection stems from one of two sources— I have either satisfied a lust or I have not had it satisfied. In either case, dejection is the result. Lust means “I must have it at once.” Spiritual lust causes me to demand an answer from God, instead of seeking God Himself who gives the answer. What have I been hoping or trusting God would do? Is today “the third day” and He has still not done what I expected? Am I therefore justified in being dejected and in blaming God? Whenever we insist that God should give us an answer to prayer we are off track. The purpose of prayer is that we get ahold of God, not of the answer. It is impossible to be well physically and to be dejected, because dejection is a sign of sickness. This is also true spiritually. Dejection spiritually is wrong, and we are always to blame for it.
We look for visions from heaven and for earth-shaking events to see God’s power. Even the fact that we are dejected is proof that we do this. Yet we never realize that all the time God is at work in our everyday events and in the people around us. If we will only obey, and do the task that He has placed closest to us, we will see Him. One of the most amazing revelations of God comes to us when we learn that it is in the everyday things of life that we realize the magnificent deity of Jesus Christ.