These are the things I worry about: stray cats slipping into my car while I’m unloading groceries, my phone becoming sentient and turning on the camera at inopportune times and live-streaming those inopportune times to the world, and the consequences of endorsing my husband’s name on the backs of checks.

Every now and then, he’ll get a random check in the mail – for this or that, or for whatever. The chances that I will remember at night after a full day of parenting to ask my husband to sign the back of the check are smaller than a gnat’s mammary glands, so I typically end up signing his name for him while I’m in the drive-thru line at the bank.

But then I worry. What if the teller had been stretching her neck, looking around the corner at that very moment?

What if she could tell that the half-life of the endorsement signature ink and the deposit slip ink were the same – and very, very fresh?

Fully Endorsed Anxiety

Never mind the fact that I’m depositing the check into a joint account with his name clearly first. I’m aware of the penalties of check fraud – thanks to federal tax refund checks.

We don’t get one every year, but when we do, they’re made out to both of us.

Not Christopher or Rachel – it’s a “Christopher AND Rachel”.

And on the back, it clearly states “If check is made out to more than one party, both must endorse.”

And then after that, “Forgery of endorsements are a federal crime and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Minimum fine 40 billion dollars and life in prison for you and your progeny up to three generations.”

Or something about as ominous as that.

Needless to say, I seriously sweat about getting Chris to sign those checks. Because I can visualize the IRS agent whose job it is to receive the cleared checks and analyze the signature letter formation to see if they had indeed been signed by the authorized recipients.

This year, due to an adjustment on last year’s taxes, we got two refund checks.

The biggest one came first. I was already feeling jumpy about the whole thing because the envelope totally looked like junk mail and had fallen out of the stack and was lying on the kitchen floor perilously close to being kicked down the basement stairs like a discarded Charter Cable ad. I picked it up and my heart raced at the thought of it getting thrown away. Good luck getting the Government to stop payment and cut a new check.

I placed it carefully on the counter so that I could not forget it that night. I WOULD make Chris sign it. I WOULDN’T go to jail on forging my own husband’s name.

And I did. He signed it, I signed it, and we might’ve even used two different colors of ink – just to let them know that it was conclusively signed by two different individuals.

A week later, the second, much smaller check arrived. Times were busy – we were about to go on vacation and all of us were running from place to place trying to make things happen.

I didn’t have time to track down my husband for this task. And I certainly didn’t want to leave checks lying around while we were gone – the cat that had most likely snuck into the car and then into the house while I was unloading groceries would invariably pee on it.

Now I’m CERTAINLY not saying that I signed his name on the back because that would be a federal crime and I’m not a criminal, federal or international.

But if I had, I would have been feeling the laser-sharp glare of the hidden bank cameras as I sat, fidgeting in the car, watching the teller examine my deposit.

And if I had, I would have felt a mini-heart-attack when my teller called over another older, clearly more authoritative teller to look at my deposit.

And if I had, I might have peed a little when the scary new teller held up an ominous looking document and said, “Uh, Miss Callahan? Garble google bloggle blick.”

“I’m sorry? I couldn’t understand you.”

“I said, I have a survey here for you to fill out about your visit today.”

If that had happened, I would’ve sighed with great relief and given my bank all 10s for not questioning the integrity of any endorsements that might or might not have been on that check.

And then I would have gone home and resumed my anxiety attack, thinking constantly about that green-visored IRS agent in his dark, lonely office with only the company of his microscope, his expert training in signature analysis, and his stack of cleared checks.

19 thoughts on “Fully Endorsed Anxiety.

  1. I can sign my Mama’s name like a pro. It looks just like hers! (Not that I’ve done it that often in the past 14 years that I’ve been out of high school….I’m just saying)
    But my husband’s signature. Forget it, I wouldn’t even attempt.

  2. I was informed once by a bank employee that I am actually the only person legally asked to forge my husband’s signature (with his permission).

    Our account had been compromised and we were closing it/opening a new one. Joe was at work and literally ALWAYS worked during business hours. The form needed us both to sign, in front of witnesses. Bank employed witnesses. There was even an affidavit for THE POLICE. I was about to beg for the use of a fax machine. Then the bank manager was all, “You’re married to him right? Just sign it. That’s totally allowed.”

    Changed my life.

  3. We have our income tax refunds automatically deposited in our bank account, no muss no fuss. I’m not aware of the banking laws in the US, but here in Canada if you deposit a cheque via the bank machine, no endorsement is required the act of accessing your account via your PIN is sufficient enough.

    That being said, we did recently renegoiate our mortgage and all the paperwork arrived via a .pdf file. I have both mine and my husband’s signature and intials saved on my computer. Needless to say, he is now committed to a 5 year variable mortgage without even seeing the papers (but fully aware of what was happening) – not that he would have read them anyway as I have handled all the financial needs of our family for the past 20 years. ;o)

    1. Ours used to be direct deposited, then they mysteriously stopped. It would’ve been quicker to email my accountant and ask him to fix that than to write this post, but did I? Nope.

  4. I had to laugh out loud at this one…only because I stress about the same thing! My husband receives business reimbursement checks in the mail, which I usually deposit via mobile banking. Since he travels so much, I usually scribble his signature on the check and deposit…but I take my anxiety to the next level. I stress that someone at the bank will go through the pictures of signatures of the mobile deposits and compare them and realized they are different! Its only a shorted lived moment but still! LOL!

  5. When I run into this same situation I don’t sign his name but instead endorse by writing “for deposit only” and add our bank account number underneath that statement. I have never had a problem, even when the check is made out to Joel, my husbands real name, and the checking account says Joey, the name he goes by. So there, no guilt needed.

    1. This is exactly what I do…for deposit only….even a tax refund. Never had an issue with it. Ever. I don’t even remember the last time he endorsed a check.

  6. I have 2 things to add, here:

    1. I have this fear. Always have. So I read somewhere that you can forge the signature by flipping it upside down, then drawing it. It helps your brain uncheck the “I need to make a capital C” portion, and allows it to draw more fluidly.

    2. What’s a tax return?

  7. The way I understand it, the only person who can press charges for forgery of his signature is your husband. Since I learned that, I don’t worry anymore about signing his name.
    Secondly, one time my husband opened the trunk to take some groceries out and a dog came running up out of nowhere and jumped in the trunk and went to the back and laid down. It was completely random, and also validates your fear of the stray cat getting in your car.

  8. I can also validate/feed your fear of a cat getting in your car. Happened to my in-laws. Mother-in-law did not realize and the cat was trapped inside the car for about 12 hours. Thankfully, the cat used some extra fabric in the back as her litter box, which made it easier to clean. The smell, however, lingered almost as long as my father-in-law’s anger…

  9. I totally got suspended for two days in sixth grade for forging my mom’s name on a note at school. That’s why I never did anything bad ever again. Because I get caught.

    So one would understand my confusion when I saw my mom signing my dad’s name on the back of a check. I was like wait, what? Isn’t that way worse than a stupid note at school? Nope, mom said. Since they’re married it’s allowed. I don’t know why but my brain held on to that tidbit of knowledge and when my husband and I got married I actually brought it up. “I can forge your signature now! How cool is that?”

  10. I’m going to try to ignore the fact that it’s 2015 and you’re still getting paper checks in the mail instead of direct deposit.

    My bank would probably question it if my husband’s actual signature ever appeared on anything. I think I’ve forged his name on everything that’s ever gone through them.

  11. I bank almost entirely from my phone. When my husband gets a check, I just sign my own name on it and then mobile deposit it. Since both our names are on the account I can sign it and it still gets deposited. After a year of doing this I have never been questioned about it.

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