I received a phone call last night, on my landline at home. For the younger readers a landline is a phone that relies exclusively on non-WiFi connections. Since this first paragraph has somehow become an opportunity to educate our tender youth, allow me to share a little more ancient phone history to the non baby boomers. Many of your rural relatives relied on a telephone option Bell called a party line. It was pretty hard to resist a promise of a party, every time you spoke on the phone. A party line was a line from years ago, where you shared the same landline phone number with another person. The trick of this system was to clearly understand that you owned a distinctive personal ring to alert you when it was the proper time to answer your black heavy phone. One homeowner had two quick rings, followed by a long ring. Your counterpart with the exact same phone number, only answered their equally heavy black phone when they heard one long ring followed by two quick rings. The point is you didn’t really pay attention to the code as both parties openly and expectedly listened to the other person’s phone calls. Before Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, this was the only way to find out what the neighbours were up to.
When I was a very young boy I was really doing well in the financial world. I lived at home rent-free, I received three meals a day and I had a paper route. At that time in the Toronto area there were three newspapers, The Toronto Star, the Telegram and the Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail was the only morning newspaper, and because I was young, naïve, and my father worked at the Globe and Mail, this was the paper I delivered very early in the morning to the early risers in my community. While the other newspaper boys slept soundly in their beds, with vision of sugarplums, I was awakened each morning by a clock I had wound the night before. At four cents a paper, with 23 weekday customers and 32 Saturday only customers, I was making… well you do the math!
So back to my surprising call from my bank last evening; the lady on the other end of the landline-assisted call, was calling to sincerely thank me for my patronage of the CIBC. She offered new privileges to me, because I was a valued customer. I was more than pleased to accept these little perks, as recognition of my loyalty. I felt like a million dollars, though when I asked for that amount as a reward for my loyalty, she said no, but did offer a CIBC air freshener for my car. As this courtesy call ended the very pleasant lady mentioned that I had been a loyal customer for twenty years. I smiled and chose not to correct this very kind lady, though the truth is, I have been a loyal CIBC customer for more than forty years. Both of my gainfully employed children are also customers at CIBC, because as research shows, your children will bank where you bank and also use the same laundry detergent you use, because that is what market research is paid to show you.
So how did my allegiance to this banking institution begin? Well the story begins with great innocence but ends with tragedy of mythic proportions. I share that information so readers who can’t stomach classic drama like Richard III or Melrose Place can make a quick exit before you weep uncontrollably over your iPad.
When I was nine years old, I was strongly encouraged to open a bank account by mother, to start saving all this money I was making. She explained to me about something called interest, which at the time, did not interest me at all. My mother undeterred by my nine year old reaction to a complex concept, took a paper and pencil showed me how I could make money by doing nothing. This idea certainly appealed to me. I immediately contemplated handing in my resignation to the newspaper and just sit back and watch my $211.57 grow.
So with my mother by my side, I walked into the CIBC at the Oak Queen Mall, and begrudgingly handed over my small fortune to the teller. A teller who was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She smiled at me, and I knew then we were meant to be together for eternity. I was nine and she was probably thirty-seven but with the body of a thirty six year old. Yes I was now prepared to read all of Shakespeare’s love sonnets, and I didn’t care if he was not the true author because I wanted to bask in the world of romance, even if I didn’t know what basking meant at the time.
I was hopelessly in love. What does a nine year old lad do to enhance a relationship with a slightly older lady? I didn’t know my true love’s name, but that was not important at the time because she could only be called Venus. The first thing I decided, was I needed to find more reasons to get to that bank on a regular basis. My mother talked about Canada Savings Bonds, as a way to commit to my economic well-being, and I was on board as long as I could do this in person at the branch with my future wife.
As I waited in the long line to initiate this new financial transaction, something horrible occurred. When it was my turn to proceed, I was forced to go to another teller, who was wearing horn-rimmed glasses and had a distinct librarian look about her and was never going to be the love of my life. I was beginning to understand the business term, random distribution as I unenthusiastically increased my personal wealth with this incompatible teller while desperately trying to make eye contact with the only teller I cared about.
Three important rules of first loves became clear to me that day.
- It is deeper than the deepest blue ocean.
- It is pure and honest.
- The recipient of your devotion is totally unaware.
I discovered that my new habit of getting up early in the morning would be better rewarded at the local golf course, where caddying at about four dollars a day would eclipse my current earnings portfolio. Now every week I would visit my teller, letting people butt in front of me to ensure this lady was aware of my new financial situation. I am convinced she went home every evening basking in our love, because she was older and older ladies know how to bask. Each week I went to my bank we silently planned our future with the assets of a now ten-year old boy. By the smile she regularly offered me, I could plainly see that she was redefining me as a mover and a shaker in her ever-changing assessment of our wonderful relationship.
This budding relationship progressed naturally, as we both sat at home just anticipating the excitement our weekly interaction. I would occasionally not visit the bank, but only on the weeks I had a large noticeable pimple on my nose, that might effect our mutual physical attraction. As you might predict, this story does not end well.
One day as I was approaching my eleventh birthday, I visited my love and discovered that she was putting on weight. She was not letting herself go, but was noticeably with child. The Catholic School I attended allowed Sex Education in the classrooms, as long as you only used frogs as the examples of any lusty act. I was stunned at what she had allowed another frog to do to her. I tried to look happy, but I was not. Without a word being spoken, we both agreed that this relationship and it’s potential mutual fun, was never going to work.
As Nazareth would later explain to me, Love Hurts.
Cue the Blong…I attempted a jazz feel with this song. I do not listen to a lot of jazz music I don’t appreciate jazz and cannot play jazz so this will hopefully triple your disappointment with this week’s song