All about the benjamins

Oh no!

For a few fleeting moments, I stared at the sidewalk, wishing my day was just a bad dream and idly wondering if I might wake up. Then I snapped back to reality: there was $10,000 in cash, coins, and checks fluttering around the parking lot, and if I didn't corner it all and get it safely tucked back into my backpack, I was going to be in big trouble.

True story.

If I ended this post now, I'm sure you could imagine all sorts of cool and unusual reasons I'd have $10,000 in my backpack, and all sorts of ways it could have escaped into the breeze and started dancing around the parking lot. Nonetheless, the truth should be told, so here goes.

One summer not too long ago, I participated in a literature evangelism program (a magabook program, to be exact). If you've met me, you can probably guess that I'm a reaaaaaly lousy salesman; magabooking was one of the most challenging things I've ever done. As you may have discovered, though, God is most visible when you're way in over your head. When it's blindingly obvious that you can't meet the demands of your day in your own strength, living without God is not a temptation. Thus, that summer was one of the high points of my spiritual life.

Back to the backstory. I was a part of a group of about 25 students working together in a single literature evangelism program. We'd go out and work 5 days a week, and between the lot of us, we'd bring back somewhere around $2,000 in cash, checks, and coins every night. The coins were rolled, the cash was counted, and it was all carefully sealed into zippered money bags, to be deposited at a local bank the next morning.

Or at least, that's the way it was supposed to be. And for the most part, that's the way it was, until one week, we packed our bags and moved several hours away from our base church to canvass a different part of the state. A problem arose: there were no branches of our preferred bank near our new location. Unwilling to drive several hours to make daily deposits, the leaders decided to let the deposits accumulate all week and deposit them the next weekend when we went back to our base church.

Here, a second problem manifested itself: we only had one zippered bank bag, and it could only hold about $2,000. Fortunately, we were reasonably resourceful, so we replaced the bank bag with a ziploc baggie. All seemed well, and the week went smoothly. Then came Friday.

As one of the group's accountants, I was assigned the task of driving to the bank and depositing the week's earnings. So I tossed the $10,000 ziploc baggie in my backpack, tossed my backpack in my trunk, started the car, and promptly slammed the transmission into first gear without putting in the clutch. Lurch, grind, sputter.


Dead silence. I tentatively wiggled the shifter. It seemed to be able to move, but it was pretty stiff going into first gear.

Great. I just screwwed up the transmission on Dad's car. That's going to be one seriously expensive repair bill. (The VW dealership said the transmission would have to be replaced, but we never replaced it -- it's still working, and still stiff going into first.)

Since the car seemed to be working more-or-less okay, I went ahead and drove to the bank, parking directly in front of the front doors.

My, it's windy out here today.

I walked around to the trunk and grabbed my backpack. For some odd reason, I decided to remove the baggie and leave the backpack in the car, so I grabbed the baggie and started to pull it out of the backpack.

Hmm... this doesn't look like the top. The money must have shifted. I didn't think I was driving that fast...

Each day, we'd have somewhere around $10 in quarters, plus a few dollars of other assorted change. As I pulled the baggie out of the backpack, roughly $75 in rolled coins settled comfortably onto the ziploc seal.

The sound of an opening ziploc bag is very hard to describe, especially when it's followed by the sound of a large pile of cash hitting the pavement. Suffice it to say it was the sound of my day getting much, much worse.

I started frantically scopping cash off the ground and tossing it haphazardly in the trunk. Unfortunately, the wind was hard at work thwarting my plans. A few twenties had already escaped and were making a run for the other end of the parking lot. I never stopped to look inside the bank, but I'd imagine the tellers were amused at the spectacle outside their front door.

God, I could really use some help right about now...

The wind subsided long enough for me to recapture all the cash I could see out in the parking lot. I had no idea if it was all there, but I scooped it back into the ziploc bag and gingerly carried it inside, dropping it on the counter with a loud clunk. "I'd like to make a deposit."

The teller lady's eyes grew wide. Apparently, 18 year-olds don't often make $10,000 deposits. "Son, you must have one hell of a lemonade stand."

She counted the cash up, and much to my relief, it was all there.


At 6:00 AM , Anonymous J said...

LOL. Um, yes, that is quite the deposit. I'm surprised that teller didn't try to call the police on you or something. ;-P


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