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?
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.