Saturday, June 5, 2010

Oil!, or: I am growing a moustache specifically for twirling

Let me tell you a story.

Once, several years ago (let’s say…five. I don’t know. I’m not good with guestimates), I decided to transfer some money between banks. I wanted to make my money work for me (thanks for the tip, Rich Dad, Poor Dad), and even though it was doing a damn fine job at Bank of America, it would do a damn .2% per annum finer job at a smaller, sexier bank that Put People First. (That bank has since become insolvent, but that’s what you get if you run a financial institution based on putting people first rather than, say, money.) Because this hip young bank was not set up to accept electronic transfers (another thing that, in retrospect, they should have put before people), I had to withdraw the $2000 that I was transferring and walk it over to the other bank so I could deposit it there.

Like Suze Orman and the rest of the crew on (real website!), I prefer my wealth management to be as fabulous as possible, so when I got to the teller and she asked me whether I would like the withdrawal in the form of a cashier’s check, I told her I didn’t want whatever fiduciary nonsense she was trying to sell me on, and that I wanted my $2000 in cold hard Frankie B’s, which I believe was the popular slang at the time.

So she gave me my money and: $2000 in one-hundred dollar bills is not at all impressive. Holding $100 in dollar bills makes you feel like an effing rock star but holding $2000 in crisp hundies makes you feel like a productive, responsible member of society. It was very disheartening. It’s a sad day when I can barely muster the energy to yell “Money, Cash, Hoes!” at the upper middle class pedestrians I pass on the streets of my overwhelmingly white neighborhood, which has five coffee shops, several restaurants which claim to be engaged in “fusion”, and a store where, for a fee, you can paint ceramic mugs.

(And then once I finished my depressing ho-free walk and got to the other bank, they didn’t accept cash deposits, so I had to walk all the way back to Bank of America, still sans ho, and go back to the same teller and ask her to take back my cash and give me a cashier’s check, and then I ran all the way home, cried for hours, and eventually decided to give up hoes entirely.)

All of this is a long, long (can we get an editor in here?) prelude to mentioning that yesterday I went into the payroll office and was handed ten thousand RMB in a rubber-band-wrapped stack of hundred-RMB notes. When the lady behind the desk asked me to count the stack to make sure everything was in order, I realized that that was probably the only time in my life that I would have the chance to count one hundred of anything. (Though there are a truly staggering number of amateur jokesters who, tongue waggishly in cheek, have asked me if getting a Mathematics degree at Princeton required:

  • counting to infinity
  • counting to a million
  • doing a lot of adding and subtracting and shit

to which I have traditionally replied, you are an idiot.)

So I counted the bills and I must have been smiling or something, because the lady laughed and said, “having fun?”, and I said, hush, money’s talking, baby, listen to that sweet summertime sound.

In other news, in 23 days I’ll be in America. Hoes-a-million over there, am I right?