Writing Like Crazy #96

Don’t you love it when you stop writing for the day, and then go off and read a book or take a walk (or *shudder* clean the house and do chores), and you keep writing in your head, and it’s like, “Oh! Oh! Here’s another idea. Here’s another thing to do with that chapter! Oh! Oh! And this is what happens next!”

Yeah, baby. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.


And Another Thing

Someone asked me if I could tell them where there’s an “ATM machine” nearby. 

WTF? Really? What do you think that M in ATM stands for? Money?

That kicked in a memory stream. I remember when ATMs first came out.

Yes, I am that old, children.

(I also remember when cable sprawl began, and when we started having color televisions, microwaves, and all the kinds of satellite things we now have. Get over it.)

We thought ATMs were great. Before them, you had to park, go inside, get in line, and take care of business, or drive into a line, if there were drive-through tellers, wait, and take care of business. Whichever option you chose, waiting was involved.

There was a forty dollar limit on what we could withdraw from ATMs back then. Forty dollars was a lot more money in that era. A tank of gas cost me less than ten, or maybe just over ten, dollars. Coffee – hello? – was a dollar a cup. Believe it, children.

Banks touted ATMs as a wonderful invention. It would save them so much money, and they would pass all those savings on to you through increased interest rates on your accounts and certificates of deposit. You could get your money from any ATM. Isn’t that great? Yes, it was wonderful!

Then, the banks and credit unions started complaining about the unanticipated costs. There were lines at the ATMs because there were longer lines in the bank, because they’d cut back on tellers to reduce overhead. The number of ATM transactions started to be capped. Going over that number meant you’d be penalized.

Then came the networks. Networks were formed to share the costs and reduce the burdens – for the financial institutions. What it meant for you was that if an ATM wasn’t in your network, you’d be charged for the luxury of using that machine to access your money. Piss me off?

You betcha. We were always wandering around towns, looking for ATMs and asking, “Is that one in our network?” Everyone had their eyes peeled for ATMs, crying out, “There’s one!” Then we’d aim the car that way. Yes, children, this was before ATMs came to be in other businesses, or stores. This was also before debit cards.

The ATMs typically had a list of networks that the institution belonged to. You’d need to figure out if one of those networks included your institution. If you couldn’t find one, you could be charged, with good ol’ Bank of America (who else, right?) leading the way in outrageous fees. Eventually, the banks and credit unions were forced to warn you if you were going to be charged, and accept that fee before going on.

Of course, the reverse of this was not having ATMs, but depending on your bank and credit union by writing checks, or going in, standing in the lobby for a while, and withdrawing some funds. That wasn’t fun, either.

So, even with my complaints (I am Michael, hear me complain), the ATMs are a lot better than the way it was. Just remember to heed the unspoken warning, “User beware.”


Don’t you hate it when you decide to sign up for a newsletter or magazine delivered by email, or sign a petition, or join a group, and they just inundate you with emails? One a day isn’t enough – they have to send you three a day. Doesn’t that suck? It’s like they all believe that the more emails that they send to you, the more you’ll remember and support them.

Yeah, I remember them, all right, but for the wrong reasons. I come to remember and resent them for all the emails they send me, and for making it difficult for me to unsubscribe or “manage” my subscriptions with them.

Politicians and political causes seem like the worst. I’ve reduced my donation levels because I don’t want them to have my name any longer. I’m tired of hearing from them. So often, they send things with weaponized headlines to grab your attention. “YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT’S HAPPENING.” “WE NEED YOUR NAME TO STOP THIS! WON’T YOU STAND WITH US?”

That’s why I attempt to cap my posts to five a day. I know, they’re innocuous, with little thought behind them (yes, it shows, right?), and it’s mostly about me and my endless string of complaints, but they’re part of that greater burden of emails roaring into your inbox, demanding your attention.

Feel free to unsubscribe from me to reduce your load, because I feel your pain, brothers and sisters.

The Reality

The sister got down on the floor on her back. She’d come down to help her younger sister with their mother’s care.

“I’m almost eighty years old,” she said. “I’m tired.”

It was expected. Her mother lived with her younger sister, who was seventy-two. One hundred one years old, Mom suffered from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Other than that, and some minor injuries from falls, she was in great health, better health than her daughters.

It was a frustrating experience. The sisters loved their mother, and liked having her alive, but Mom often no longer remembered them. Mom would stand up and pee on the floor, and then cry over what she’d done. It wearied the sisters. After a lifetime of raising children (and now helping with grandchildren), divorces, bankruptcies, and health issues, they were ready to rest.

But rest wasn’t available, and that was the reality.


Flooftif (catfinition) – a salient artistic theme centered on depictions of felines, also known as cattif.

In use: “The many statues, paintings, and ceramic of cats provides the stereotypical flooftif of a cat-love, but this isn’t a facade; she genuinely loves cats, and they love her.”

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