Uncle Joel Fails Citizenship 101. Again.

Sorry for the long silence there, folks. Nothing’s wrong. Winter arrived and I went suddenly into cocoon mode like it was some inescapable lizard instinct. The good news is that I’ve already made inroads on that stack of books beside the bedroom chair. The bad news is that I opened my computer for the first time in days and found multiple emails from readers wanting to know where they should send flowers.

Yesterday I made an effort to break out of my encroaching hibernation…

The wind died and the temperature struggled into the high fifties, and I roused myself to take what might be the last bike ride to town of the season. Lethargy wasn’t the only reason for having to force myself to do it: I needed to accomplish something OFFICIAL. And we all know how that always goes.

Thing is, for various reasons Uncle Joel needs a bank account of his very own. I needed to walk into a bank and say, with Proud Righteous Citizenship ringing in my voice, “I would like to open a bank account.”

Needless to tell longtime readers that I had already procrastinated on this for weeks, waving away several opportunities. Why? Because Uncle Joel is not a good citizen. Uncle Joel’s papers are never, ever in order. This was not going to go well.

The last time I faced this issue, Landlady virtually led me by the hand into a DMV to acquire my very own Photo ID, so that I might (be virtually led by the hand into a Social Security office to) apply for Medicare. Both those incidents went reasonably well – astonishingly well by my standards – because one piece of paperwork I have oddly and ironically managed to hang on to all these years is a faded, dog-eared birth certificate. That document was all I needed to score an official ID, and the two documents got me through the Medicare ordeal. But would they be enough to convince a bank to take my money?

The answer, in case you wondered, is no. I am not yet sufficiently officially me to rate a checking account.

See, it’s things like this that sent me scuttling to the back of beyond in the first place. As I’ve said before, I like to imagine myself this rough tough Jeremiah Johnson throwback when all I really am is a paranoid, excitable, increasingly elderly gimp who can’t keep records.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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12 Responses to Uncle Joel Fails Citizenship 101. Again.

  1. Robert says:

    “But would they be enough to convince a bank to take my money?”
    More importantly, will they give it back?
    Good luck Joel, er, Citizen.

    My long-time bank once refused to let me deposit money into my own account without ID. It was for $200, and the ID had no picture. Ridiculous…

  2. Ben says:

    Online account?

  3. Kentucky says:

    Just glad to know you’re OK. Was worried.

  4. Jim Price says:

    Is there a credit union in town? That would be a better choice than a bank, at least in my experience. They’re more customer oriented than banks.

  5. jed says:

    All hail the “know your customer” rules! The notion of The Lair having a street address is amusing, until it isn’t, because you need to give an address to be allowed to be yourself. I wouldn’t be surprised if they also wanted to see some document with your SSN printed upon it, in all its administrative glory.

    Best of luck with that.

  6. wayne charles dygert says:

    i echo the credit union comment. For what it’s worth this 75-year-old curmudgeon is also totally unable to deal with officialdom in virtually any guise. By preference going under the radar is pretty much my M.O. That said, it’s pretty much impossible to exist in the world-as-it-is without some sort of official notice of your existence. I am fortunate to have a daughter on whom I impose mightily to be my factum factotum to the world of documents and officialese. Good Lucl

  7. Rick says:

    These many years I had kept my birth cert in a decorative box. Along the fold the paper had part but for two fibers. When I laid it on the counter at the DMV, the clerk slide it toward him. Now completely parted into two parts, DMV office drone said he wouldn’t accept it.

    It took nine months for the state of my birth to issue a new official certificate of live birth. We use to laugh at the silly inefficiencies of Soviet bureaucracy. We’re not laughing anymore.

    I 2nd the suggestion for credit unions.

    By the way, what elevation are you?

  8. Terrapod says:

    Does Ian’s abode have a real street address? Just thinking out loud here. That or the post office box in town. It is Arizona after all, there are houses in places without named/numbered roads.

  9. winston smith says:

    +another on the credit union. local folks.

    my bank also asked for id on a small deposit once. i showed them and then told them that if ANYONE wanted to put money into my account they were to allow it without id and ii would sign any paperwork to that effect. who am i to refuse a kind citizen.

  10. Tree Mike says:

    Your last paragraph describes me to a T. Fortunately I have a sane, intelligent wife/friend that has saved numerous official minions fates worse than death from me.

  11. Mike says:

    I’m glad to see that you’re back in action, and sorry, but not surprised about your trouble with the bank. Something to remember is that banks are not charities, nor are they governments (even if they think so), they are businesses. Banks one of the largest issues they deal with is potential fraud, and the measures that prevented you from opening an account are in place to mitigate that risk.

    I know, you’re probably thinking, “What BS, I’m not a risk, it’s the other fellow.” It all comes down to the 10-80-10 rule. 10% of people are ethical all the time. 80% behave unethically depending on the situation or the pressure(s) being applied. 10% have no or a severely broken moral compass and will pounce on opportunities to commit fraud. The problem is that the bank employees don’t know where you fall in the 10-80-10 spectrum.

To the stake with the heretic!