Monday, 22 October 2007

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Assailed by the Miraculous Three weeks ago Friday I went to the UCI Cashier's Office to settle two outstanding debts: Overdue Library Fine: $12.50 Fall Student Fees: $2,640.00 I wrote the UC Regents a check, snaked through the Cashier's line and handed the check to the teller. She smiled and chirped: "Have a great weekend!" So you can imagine my surprise when I went to register for the Fall Quarter and learned from the Registrar that I hadn't paid my Student Fees. I walked over to the Cashier's Office. I snaked through the Cashier's line. I questioned the teller about the status of my account. The teller pursed her lips at her monitor and asked me whether I paid my fees on time. I said I had. She asked whether I'd mailed them or handed them to a teller. I said I'd handed them to a teller. She asked whether the check I'd written had been cashed. I said it had. She excused herself for a moment. The teller had excused herself for more than a moment. Much more. I waited. Tapped my fingers. Pulled my ear. Fiddled with buttons. Ten minutes went by. I leaned over the partition. Looked around. Leaned back. Tapped fingers. Ten more minutes passed. I huffed audibly. Crossed my arms. Scowled. That did the trick. The teller returned and said: "Did you pay a library fine the same day?" I said that I had. "How much was it for?" I said how much it was for. "Because the library applied all the funds you deposited that day to the overdue fee." "They did?" "They did." "Why'd they do that?" "They don't know." "Will they undo it?" "They said they'll try." "They said they'll try to refund the $2,640 they applied to a $12.50 overdue fee?" "That's what they said." "Did they indicate whether they thought they'd be successful?" "They didn't say." "Did they say what I should do if they weren't successful?" "They didn't say." "But they did say they'd try to refund the $2,640 they applied to a $12.50 overdue fee?" "That's what they said." "Did they happen to tell say when they'd try to refund the $2,640 they applied to a $12.50 overdue fee?" "They said because they assessed the fine last month the money's already been reallocated—" "Can they allocate it back?" "They said it's not that simple. In the meantime, why don't you pay your student fees now and work out this situation with the library later?" I looked at her as only a man without $2,640 in his wallet looks at a teller who assumes he does. (For reference: a subtle variation of "You Must Be Fucking Kidding Me.") I continued staring until she looked uncomfortable. "If you pay your student fees now you can work out the library situation later." I stared some more. "I'd be happy to help you process your student fees." The staring evolved into glowering around the words "happy" and "help." I was determined to remain mute until she...
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The Future of Advertising I have seen it. It is not pretty. (See for yourself.) I was pointed to the article by John McNally, the editor of a collection of essays entitled When I Was a Loser. One of those essays—Will Clarke's "How to Kill a Boy Nobody Likes"—contains naughty words (from the mouths of teenagers!) and sexual thoughts (in the minds teenagers!), which led some Rhode Island parents (of teenagers!) to complain that it was inappropriate (for teenagers!). Do you know what else is inappropriate (for teenagers!)? The careers advertised in the Most Intrusive Banner Ever (from left to right): High-Class Prostitute Closeted Republican Phone-Sex Worker Surprised Chef African-American High-Class African-American Prostitute Wok Technician Future Tentacle-Porn Aficionado Karate Hero High-Class Madame Unemployed African-American "Looking for Jobs" to Please Unemployment Officer Drunk Nurse's Assistant's Assistant Or do you mean to tell me the good readers of the Woonsocket Call want their children to "date" prostitutes and eat "food" prepared by chefs? Wait—! I didn't mean to write that. I don't even know where that came from. (An educated guess: my [failed] attempt to peer into the closed minds of the Woonsocket Call's readers.) I meant to write: Unemployed Aspiring Female Model Closeted Republican Unemployed Aspiring Female Model Unemployed Aspiring Female Model Unemployed Aspiring Male Model Unemployed Aspiring Male Model Unemployed Aspiring Male Model Unemployed Aspiring Male Model Unemployed Aspiring Female Model Unemployed Aspiring Female Model Unemployed Aspiring Female Model Unemployed Aspiring Male Model Unemployed Aspiring Female Model Unemployed Aspiring Female Model If the Most Intrusive Banner Ever is any indication, positions will soon open up in the fields it implicitly advertises (stock photograph, graphic design, and web design), as the people currently occupying them are clearly incompetent. (I'd intended this post to be more high-minded in its mockery, but the phrase "Future Tentacle-Porn Aficionado" torpedoed those plans.)

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