Thursday, October 22, 2009

Balancing My Checkbook

As part of my massive, get-my-whole-life-in-order preparations for my little three-day trip to the University of Washington, I balanced my checkbook last night.

I love balancing my checkbook. If there is anything that makes me think that my whole life is in order, it is getting out my calculator and figuring out exactly how much money I have in my checking account, right down to the penny.

But the problem is that so often it doesn't balance! I keep such careful records in my checkbook register, and yet almost NEVER does the bank come up with the same amount that I come up with. I go back and double-check the amount of every single check, deposit, ATM withdrawal; I recalculate every addition and subtraction; and the numbers still don't match. I subtract the bank's number from my number (and always, it's the bank's number that's smaller), and the number I get is never some nice round number like $50.00, where I can go back and look for a $50.00 error somewhere. It's always something like $183.47. I try to search some more - but what more can I do other than check every single figure recorded in my checkbook register and every single calculation? So then I give up and write a correction line: CORRECTION $183.47. And I mark it with a frowny face.

This has been going on for months. But then last night, o miracle, the checkbook balanced! My number was the same as the bank's number! This has to mean that every single correction I made for every single one of the last ten months or so was the correct number. It implies a staggeringly huge series of correct calculations, well, at least correct calculations as to the amount of my previously incorrect calculations. I marked this with a VERY big smiley face.

My checkbook is balanced! My life is in order! I can now leave on my trip!

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