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GOING THE DISTANCE
"HAPPY THANKSGIVING 2010"
LIfe was great. I had a lot to be thankful for. I had my 1968 Harley Sportster "Sally The Bitch." I had a wonderful family consisting of my two year old son Mike, and a pregnant wife who I would discover a year later to be unfaithful to me, leading me to dump her in 1974 faster than you can dump the clutch on your stroked Shovelhead in a race for pink slips. The time I really should've been grateful, was in 1974 after I dumped my ex's sorry ass. Nevertheless, I did have a lot to be grateful for in May of 1973. Three months later, my daughter Tiffanie was born, making the drama being played out between me and my ex-wife bittersweet. My ex-wife later begged in tears to come back, but she was history. My anger was stoked, and my love for this woman died an abrupt and final death. Every day, I played an album featuring Jerry Garcia and Merle Saunders called "Live At Keystone." On that record is a song titled "It's no use" which I found inspirational in validating my decision not to take my ex back. Here are the opening lyrics for this song:
It ain't no use for you to cry
You might as well dry your eyes
You done me wrong, now you wanna come back home
But it ain't no use
However, in May of 1973, I was in an ignorant state of unawareful bliss. I had just started a new job at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in upper Manhattan as a retinal photographer. I was at the time, feeling on top of the world. My new work surroundings necessitated a new bank account in a neighboring bank. I opened a bank account across the street from the Harkness Eye Institute of the Columbia-Presybterian Medical Center where I plied my trade. It happened to be a Chemical Bank on Saint Nicholas Avenue. Chemical Bank later was absorbed by Chase. I've been a happy customer's of Chase Bank going on 37 years. Those "nazi collaborators" have been good to me, and good for me.
NOVEMBER 25, 2010
I got up this morning and did my Chase banking online, just as I do every thursday morning. Online banking is relatively new for me. I just started doing this about a year ago, when my bank discovered that someone was cashing bogus checks from my account. Up until then, I'd been a self-admitted technophobe about online banking.
I found out that my account had somehow become in bank parlance "exposed," when I received a letter from Chase informing me that they'd discovered bogus checks being cashed from my account in the thousands of dollars, and advising me to see my nearest bank representative about this. I received this ominous letter on a friday.
I couldn't get to my bank fast enough to straighten things out, believe me. Unfortunately, I had to stew in my anxiety over the weekend until the next business day.
I subsequently walked into my Chase branch around the corner from my Greenwich Village office the following monday morning. A really gracious bank rep named Leanne spent an hour with me, showing me copies of the dozen-plus bogus checks.
They were crude copies of my actual checks, but with small errors on their faces. Someone where I paid a bill by check, copied my check and tried to pass these phonies off as real. In spite of the crude looking fabrications that these fake checks were, with errors in my name and address, these checks were cashed because they did include my correct account number.
"Not to worry," Leanne said. The withdrawals from my account would be negated, "But you should close that account and open a new one. You should also start doing your banking online, it's more efficient," Leanne said. Leanne helped me to create a new account right away. No muss, no fuss and no anxiety. Some forget that "corporations" are made up of people who are good and well-intentioned. These faceless "corporations" that you hear anarchists and leftists sobbing about, consist of people like you ane me.
That brings me back to this Thanksgiving 2010 morning, when I did just that---my banking online, that is.
I told these little anecdotes about my bank for a reason: To point out what a great country, and great free capitalism-based society we have. For these, we should be truly thankful. Unlike that anarchistic cretin who wrote the graffiti on the Chase sign, I recognize the value of institutions that serve us well, and in them, a microcosm of a country that serves us well. It might be redundant to say that living in America is living the American Dream but I don't care. The Dream Lives. It is said that the biker subculture is steeped in values that are outside mainstream societal values. This might imply that a majority of hardcore bikers eschew bank accounts, but I'm not certain of that.
I'm sure that the biker subculture contains minor elements who shun banks and other cornerstones of everyday life, just as there are small segments of our general population who harbor radical views.
I do remember in the early 1990s when I had just began to write for Iron Horse magazine, David Snow (the editor) marveled at my having an American Express card as if it was like owning something as esoteric as a lamp with a genie in it. Snow said, "So, yer a real person, huh?" It turns out that David didn't have any credit cards and probably didn't have a bank account--but his wife Shawn did. If your wife employs the normal tools of American life, then you ain't no anarchist, baby!
Patty and me walking together
These days I am very grateful what what I have. Two children grown up and on their own. My ever-lovin' Harley 74 "Mabel." My rippin', roarin' '72 Vette Mary. A job in this recessionary times, no small thing, man. I am the most grateful for my wife Patty, the former Patrica A. Cicchinelli, who has made my home here in the Lower Beast Side of NYC, a real home for the past 28 years. Loyal, beautiful--she's the best wife a dude can have. This home would've been an empty husk without Patty.
I am personally blessed, and am very thankful on this Thanksgiving Morning 2010.
There are many Amercians who choose to tear down America. Instead of concentrating on the positives about our country and being thankful for the wonderful life they have here, they're always on the search for the negatives, real or imagined:
"Its our fault we got attacked on 9/11."
"Other countries do it better."
"We should be more like Europe."
You've heard it all, and this bleating of the disaffected is sickening to hear and bear at times. I'm tempted at times, to tell 'em to get out if they don't like living in this great country. I hate complainers anyway, and these congenital whiners are the worst.
But that's America too---the freedom of speech benefits availed us, even if that speech rips America.
We Americans have much to be thankful for. On this Thanksgiving Day 2010, let me wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! Later.