Money and Mortality

So I live in a small town, as I’ve said a few times, and it is in fact too small to have a Wells-Fargo (or, up until a few weeks ago, a Wachovia.) As I’ve banked with them for years and Wells-Fargo seems intent on buying out every bank I have an account with, I have resigned myself, and honestly, other than one or two issues with the phone bank on their end during the switch-over, it’s been fine.

More importantly, it’s all the same people at the branch in the bigger small town twenty minutes away, and they all know me by now. When I get a check (which averages out to every other month or so, although sometimes they get crammed together—Nurk royalties arrive on the heels of Ninjabreath royalties, although Nurk royalties are teeny, but I’m still just absurdly proud the book finally earned out. It’s kinda like having the bright kid that you know has potential finally move out of his parents’ basement and get an internship somewhere–it’s not that it’s a lot of money, but damnit, you KNEW he could make something of himself if he just applied himself!)

Ahem. I digress. Anyway, when I get a check, I go to this bank and go inside because I work at home and it is occasionally nice to have to be civilized and talk to other humans without grunting, pointing, or demanding that they pick up their dirty laundry off the floor. And they all know me, since it’s a very small branch and I brought them a book once when the teller wanted to know why I was receiving money with a memo line that said NINJA FROGS. I quite like them.

The only downside to this is that they are located just down the block from a tombstone maker.

Prior to relocating to semi-rural North Carolina, I was unaware of just how excited people can get over tombstones. They have quite a lot of little graveyards here, including the occasional buried-on-the-homestead headstones in people’s yards. (This is always particularly surreal where there is a ratty mobile home with an elaborate family graveyard—those things ain’t cheap, and I start wondering what the story is. And don’t get me started on the one that had Mickey-Mouse ears.)

The headstone maker displays his wares outdoors—as you would, they’re all-weather by definition—and they’re located right opposite the turn for the bank, so you get a good long view on the approach. It’s mostly squat obelisks, but there’s a couple of saints and one reasonably terrifying giant angel.

The end result of all of this is that when I head off to drop off the check, I’m bopping along going “Yay! I have money! We eat tonight!” and then I am confronted with PROOF THAT MAN IS MORTAL AND YOU TOO SHALL DIE.

This mostly just makes me vow to be either immortal or cremated, depending on how it all goes down, but still, I always wind up slinking into the bank in a distinctly pensive frame of mind.

  • reply Wolf Lahti ,

    Sic transit gloria mundi, an’ all that.

    • reply Fergie ,

      My dad sells and engraves tombstones for a living. He has a masters degree in psychology which comes in surprising handy because he has to sell very expensive things to very unstable people who will only see the fruits of their hard earned cash a few times a year. Occasionally upon “setting” a stone in the ground they witness Jerry Springer-esque drama from the family because apparently the dead person cares Very Much about what marks the site of their decomposing remains and each individual family member is the sole liason for said dead persons desires. Did I mention this is all in Texas? Yes, southerners do indeed get crazy about their tombstones.

      • reply Theresa ,

        There’s nothing quite like a good epithet if your in the mood for some really dark humour. Although I’d rather have my mortal remains squeezed into a diamond and give new meaning to the Family Jewels.

        • reply Al the K ,

          Once the cost of those 3D rapid prototyping machines comes down a bit, you can design and make your own headstone. Buy a plot in that cemetery and pre-install it. Then you can drive to the bank knowing that you will glimpse your handcrafted monument of (say) a winged white rat carrying you aloft, with you triumphantly holding a carrot and rutabaga. All would be accompanied by echidna cherubim. Klieg lights next to the thing would be a bit much but could help you find that bank on dark and rainy winter afternoons.

          • reply Jamie ,

            Al the K’s post makes me suddenly and desperately have an opinion about my hypothetical tombstone. I want an adorable winged rat too! XD Sitting on a book!

            Actually, I have half-joked that out of what’s left of me (after, hopefully, organ donation/science use), basically, I would like the skull copper-leafed and then interred with waxed-up copies of my favorite novels (to preserve them against rotting or water damage, obviously).

            Because if you’re going to be dead anyway, why not be an interesting and entertaining find? 😀

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