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31 May 2002

I'm getting low on checks.

It used to be really easy. The bank gave you free checks, free check covers (mine folded in half so the checks were always bent), and that was it.

They were plain vanilla colors--I remember some sort of textured bilious green that I had for years.

Then banks started offering us a choice of cute prints. You could now make a political statement with your checks. I don't remember all of our choices through the years, but I think we had whales once.

Life started getting more complicated when non-bank related companies started coming up with lots of check designs. I'm sitting here staring at 5 pages of check design choices, everything from serious to patriotic to whimsical. It's a big commitment. It's the thing that will define me for the next few years.

The problem with going cutesy with checks is that what seems funny and cute today may be something you get really sick of a year from now (with several books of checks left to use up).

I can't remember when I ordered Betty Boop checks, but it was years ago. I mean decades ago. They were cute for awhile. A long while, actually.

But then we went to Las Vegas and it changed my check-writing life for the last several years.

We had gone for a friend's 50th birthday party and had an evening free when everyone else went out bar-hopping, which we weren't into. So we decided to walk from our hotel (The Flamingo) down to the MGM Grande. Being such an aficionado of MGM Musicals, I had to see what sort of outlandish fantastic decorations it had (I was kind of disappointed that things were pretty boring, actually).

So it wouldn't be a total loss, I wandered over to the gift cart (not even gift SHOPS in this hotel--at least not at the time). My eyes lit on a check book cover with a scene from the Wizard of Oz. could I resist? A die-hard Garland fanatic like me? Of course I bought it.

When we returned home, I was going to put my Betty Boop checks into my Wizard of Oz checkbook cover and when I opened the cover, what did I find? A form to order Wizard of Oz checks!

That was the end of Betty Boop. I still have two boxes of those checks left over, I write so few checks.   But there was no way I waiting until I used them all up. I ordered Wizard of Oz checks.

We're coming to the time when I have to reorder or choose a different pattern. I am, to tell the truth, tired of the Oz checks, so now I'm in a quandary. Do I want to go patriotic and write checks for the next several years on American flags? Nah--that's not really me.

There are all sorts of choices of scenic things--everything from maps to lighthouses, to forest scenes to ocean scenes to covered bridges. Somehow these don't exactly "catch" me.

My eyes lit up momentarily when I saw a check with the Golden Gate bridge on it. Checks with San Francisco scenes would be kind of nice. But the design is called "Scenic America," so I know that only every fourth check will be of my home town and I don't want that.

I'm not into cars so the Corvettes are out. So is "Bill Elliot" (I don't know who Bill Elliot is, but I assume a car racer, since the checkbook as a picture of a car on it.) Likewise, I can't see writing all my checks for the next several years on checks with pictures of outhouses. (called "Out back").

Not being heavily into sports, it's not likely that I'll choose the golf or baseball designs.

The flowers, butterflies and bird designs are pretty, and the cute kids are cute, but somehow those aren't me either.

The more you look over the selections, the more you realize that this choice is really a personality test. It definitely shows the kind of mindset as you discover which checks draw your attention.

I find I'm drawn to the more show-biz ones (though I'm not going to identify with the Three Stooges design {shudder}). It might be funny to have Brady Bunch checks. I'm sure not many people have those. But the novelty of that would wear off a lot quicker than the Oz checks have.

Ned would love it if I ordered the Simpsons checks, but that's not really "me" either. The Disney checks look kind of cute but I think I've passed my Disney period as well, though I do kind of like the Looney Tunes checks.  Bugs Bunny is more mature than Mickey Mouse, don't you think?

I also kind of like some funny pig and cow checks (a "pigs fly" set and a with with a cowhide print theme), but those don't feel quite right either.

That leaves me with two that I really do sort of like: Impressionist paintings and "cup o'java," which is four different coffee cup designs. I'm leaning toward the coffee cups.

Unless I find that other check order form that had the Snoopy checks on it.....

(I just discovered "Checks on Line," which has 80 different designs (Lions...and tigers...and bears...oh my! ), and 4checks, which has 250 designs (PFLAG checks?), and Style Checks (I love Lucy, The Munsters, Happy Days!) and Message Products (AIDS research , PETA, Sierra Club, etc).   This decision may take a long time...)


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There can be no peace as long as there is grinding poverty, social injustice, inequality, oppression, environmental degradation, and as long as the weak and small continue to be trodden by the mighty and powerful.

--Dalai Lama

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Created 5/30/02