Banks Rattle Me

One of my favourite Stephen Leacock stories, “My Financial Career,” starts this way:

When I go into a bank I get rattled. The clerks rattle me; the wickets rattle me; the sight of the money rattles me; everything rattles me.

The moment I cross the threshold of a bank and attempt to transact business there, I become an irresponsible idiot.


I went up to the accountant’s wicket and poked the ball of money at him with a quick convulsive movement as if I were doing a conjuring trick.

My face was ghastly pale.

“Here,” I said, “deposit it.” The tone of the words seemed to mean, “Let us do this painful thing while the fit is on us.”

This is not something which generally happens to me. Banks mostly aren’t marbled and tomb-like these days, and I tend to use ATMs anyway. Pushing buttons is not intimidating.


Being as one of our coworkers is recovering from a gallstone-removal operation, and being that numerous cheques needed to be deposited into the company account, and being that said coworker usually does that but can’t, it fell upon me to do it. And I did! With some help and lots of gumption, I sucessfully sorted and stamped the cheques, entered that they were paid into our database program, used an adding machine for the total and checked it against the database report, and finally filled out the deposit slip — correctly, even — and bound it all up.

Then I went to the bank, the $47,114.49 in hand (well, in purse, anyway).

Then I got to the bank.

Then I got lost. Yes, in the bank.

You see, this was a bank designed to rattle. A bank for the ages. A bank perhaps twenty-five stories tall and with a main lobby that had at least six or seven times the floorspace of my house. A bank that was templesque and most bankly indeed. This was the corporate headquarters, and they weren’t fooling around.

It probably took me five minutes of wandering, hoping I wasn’t attracting too much attention from the myriad guards, before I found the place I needed to be.

Then I deposited the money, and went back to work.

There isn’t really much more point to my story than that, now that I come down to it. It just reminded me of the Leacock story. Is it weird when your life reminds you of things you’ve read in books, and not the other way around?