When I was 19, I bounced around from various shit jobs. Telemarketing, freelance design, convenience store jobs, temp work, you name it. I was living in my first apartment with 2 girls – one that I’d worked with at a movie theatre in high school, Jennifer, and her friend (let’s call her Tammy, I don’t remember her name). Jennifer was the source of a lot of anguish in my life, as you’ll come to find out. This story is mostly my fault, but it began with her mistake.
One day, Jennifer came home and showed me a butterfly she’d gotten tattooed on her ankle, saying “I underestimated how much I had left in my account, so I went and got the tattoo I’ve wanted for awhile”. Young folks, take note : when your roommate “finds money” in their account, something’s wrong. I didn’t know this at the time.
Later that day, I was hungry and out of cigarettes. I went to the bank, hit up the ATM and found that I had a balance of -$12. That’s negative 12 dollars. I was fucked. And hungry. And needed cigarettes. She found money, I misplaced money.
Since this was a Wednesday, and I was getting paid on Friday, I hatched a nefarious 1read : really fucking stupid plan to sort of “borrow” against that paycheck I’d be getting in 2 days. I grabbed a deposit slip, wrote “IOU $40” on it, put a smiley face on there – to show I wasn’t being malicious or anything – and I signed it. Y’know, to make it “official”. I told the ATM I was depositing $40, put in the deposit slip – my so-called “check for $40” and voila! The ATM helpfully stated I was $28 in the black.
When I tried to carry out the final part of my plan – get $20 from this ATM – it was a no-go. I figured : no harm, no foul. Right? I tried to do a paycheck loan without the overhead, it didn’t work. I’m good. I went home and borrowed $20 from my “I found money” roommate, and got my food and cigarettes.
That Friday, when I went to deposit my check, I also brought along a check from Jennifer for her portion of the electric bill. The bank told me I couldn’t deposit the check from her, as her last check didn’t clear. So that’s where that “found money” came from. They also put a hold on availability of funds for my paycheck, because my account was “under review”. Tempted as I was to just say “ohh you mean the IOU?”, I had a number of friends in the meantime tell me what I did was called “Bank Fraud”, so I didn’t say anything.
About 2 weeks later, I got a call from my mom. She had gotten a call from the bank. See, this bank was called “Desert Schools Federal Credit Union” and was the official bank of every teacher in AZ 2or so it seemed. Since my mom was a teacher, she’d originally opened my account for me. She said she got a letter in the mail with a deposit slip, with my signature, and an “IOU $40” note. Once she was done yelling at me about it, she came to think it was kind of funny – they put so many “INVALID” and “NOT VALID FOR DEPOSIT”, and “RETURN FUNDS” notes on the slip, you could barely see the original IOU. I imagine this thing was passed through every possible department, just to show off – “Ha! look at this shit!” – and everyone just piled on their “INVALID” stamps as it went. Somewhere, there’s probably a guy with a photocopy of it in a frame, telling everyone who sees it “…and that’s the dumbest person we’ve ever had as a member of the credit union”.
The bank called me and said I was free to withdraw my remaining balance, minus fees for “attempted bank fraud”, but my account was permanently closed and I would never be eligible to open an account at that credit union again. It was 2 years before I even tried to open an account anywhere, and it’s never come back to haunt me. Except that I just admitted how incredibly stupid I am at times.