Everybody knows what that word means. It’s from an Old English, with strange lettering, but it means very simply: Thief. It’s a despicable profession, to say the least. The whole construct of the world of a thief is that someone acts when another isn’t looking, or paying attention, and takes what does not belong to her or him. They don’t “own” what they stole – instead, they just hold on to something that is not theirs. Thieves are truly rotten.
So, it happened again. Early Sunday morning, like every morning, I log on to our bank’s website, and check balances and record any expenses in our checkbook. I know – we are kind of a hybrid, using both the internet and the old fashioned check book, but it works pretty well for us. Anyway, as I was looking at the checking balance, I saw a “charge pending,” dated that Sunday morning, for $135.23. Now, it’s not unusual for me to not immediately catch all our expenses, especially when on a Saturday, if Cheri and I go different directions. She had to get her hair done, and I filled up the car and did some other shopping, but that amount seemed kind of hinky to me, for some reason. So, I asked Cheri if she had spent that much anywhere, and she quickly denied it. We have ordered some different things off internet sites, like more jigsaw puzzles, and the chairs for Cheri’s mom for Mother’s day and such, but those were pretty small purchases.
So, I decided to look at the “description” line. This is where things break down, in my opinion, with online banking. You see, you can figure out some expenses, like “McDonalds,” or “Hornbacher’s Foods” or even “Widman’s chocolates” – which by the way are home of the fantastic “chippers,” which are ruffle potato chips dipped in wonderful chocolate – you can buy them by the pound, or by the truckload if you like – all hand done at the chocolate place here in Fargo, which also, by the way, offers chocolate dipped jalapeno slices. Yes – believe the dream.
But I have wandered. Like I said, for most of the expenses, you can figure out the code well enough to remember what you threw your money at the day before. However, there are times, like this time, when what was “described” wasn’t really a description at all. The line read: PP*SHARIGTRx2244 KYUSCARD. I’ll give you a minute to figure it out. Ok – are you as baffled as I was? I sort of assumed that “KYUS” meant Kentucky, USA, but since we had not ordered Kentucky Fried Chicken in a while, it seemed a bit extravagant to buy $135 worth… you know, it would have maybe been better off simply writing, “It’s a secret – and you will never know what it means…”
What really irritates me about thievery is that not only is something taken away that belongs to you, but you then have to go through a whole lot of work to try to get it back. Really? I’d much rather have a thief just come up to me and ask, “Can I have $135 and change? To which I would reply, “Heck no!” and at least that would be over and done with…
So, since the bank we use, I was sure, would want to know that something underhanded, sneaky, no-backbone-to-stand-up-straight-and-face-the-world-as-something-more-than-a-two-legged-scavenger had occurred, I called them up, even on a Sunday morning. You see, the thing said, “pending,” which I had hoped would mean they could shut it down before someone started putting their sticky fingers all over our money.
Of course, it was an 800 number, which sent me into a computer guessing game to decide which button to push that would take me into another cyber-room to try to fix things. I did notice that none of the selections included, “Some rat is trying to take money from our checking account.” I finally, after a couple of tries, got what I thought was the right door to open, and after giving all sorts of personal information to the computer, it let me speak with a human.
Nothing derogatory, but if she were actually on American soil, she was still enrolled in an English as second language class. It was rough. I’m pretty sure she read from a script for all the answers. Trouble is, I was asking questions that didn’t match what she was answering. I wanted really to know what the code was on the expense description, since I figured the bank wrote that out and put it there. Nope – couldn’t break that wall. The most I got was that the “PP” stood for “PayPal.” Since we never use PayPal, I was convinced that it wasn’t just some charge we had forgotten. (See how long this was taking?)
Finally, after a good 40 minutes or so, with her also having to speak with Cheri, since we each have a debit card for the same account that has a different number for each of us… we all decided that, first, the charge didn’t belong to us, but instead was the product of a low-down, miserable, rattlesnake jerk. (My words…) She said she would start the process of stopping the expense – which I thought would be pretty easy – just hit “delete.”
However – and this is what takes so long – since somehow one of our card numbers was used in this nefarious scheme, it was going to be necessary to block both of our debit cards – just shut it all down, to make sure nothing else came on – and then we could either have them mail us new cards, which would take 10 days in the mail, or we could go over to one of the bank’s branch locations on Monday and they could quickly give us a new card. We went with door #2. After all that work, I hung up and waited for the change on our checking account.
I guess pushing the delete button might have been a bit too simple, since checking throughout the day, absolutely nothing changed on line. This was not met with a smile, but I did count it against it being a weekend (although I have noticed that when there is a real charge made, it is immediately debited against our account – not a moment of time wasted…).
Monday morning, I got up, fired up the computer, and checked my checking account. Indeed – something had changed! Unfortunately, what had changed was that the charge had moved from “pending” to “actual.” I went a little bit nuts. I called once again, and walked through computer land until I was able to talk with another human. This time, Erica was incredibly helpful. She apologized, but explained that they don’t take off the charge while pending, in case something more were to be added, or another development might occur. Now that it was actual, however, she promised me that she would immediately remove the charge. I think she probably owns the bank.
Well, after Cheri got off work, we moseyed over to the bank store, and turned in our old cards, and they printed up new ones after about 15 minutes, which on balance wasn’t so bad.
So now we have new cards, a correct balance, and we were able to stop the thief in his/her tracks. All that, for only about two hours’ worth of effort. I’m glad I am retired…
You know, when we strive to live intentionally in this world, but especially to live intentionally honest and good, unfortunately, we can be assured that from time to time, there are those finks who will come into our lives to take what we do not offer. Fortunately, however, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s still a lousy thing to have to endure. I expect that’s why God told us, “Do not steal.” Besides it being an inherently bad thing that makes a train wreck out of peaceful society, it also takes a whole long time to fix the tracks and put the train back on schedule. So – don’t steal. Also, be sure to do and don’t do all the other nine commandments. It’s a good way to live.
Word for the day: breatharian. Pronounced breath-AIR-ee-un. So, just looking at the word, you can guess it means a follower of some sort of philosophy or religion. This is a new word to me, actually – it comes from a small sect of Hinduism, which states they believe it is possible, through the right meditation, to reach a level of consciousness where you don’t need any food or water to exist. That’s right – all you need is air, and sunshine. You gather all you need from those two essential things filling your body.
Now – I respect those beliefs that are different from mine, even those that seem a bit unusual, or at the far end of the spectrum. However, it’s my assumption that folks that take on this meditation eventually die. Of course, we all do, but if I had to become a breatharian, I think my prime meditation would be how to find something to eat or drink. I mean – coffee? But whatever works…
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.