Plasticized 

Cash. Cold hard cash. Greenbacks. Dead presidents. These are things I am becoming less and less familiar with. They are fewer and fewer in numbers in my wallet-an endangered species. It's not that I am poor. But neither am I rich. I exist in that Goldilocks region where I can usually buy what I want, but my wants are fairly bourgeois. The reason I usually don't have any dollar bills is because I am becoming more and more plasticized. I use credit cards for everything.

Whether I need gas, food, clothing, fishing tackle or gum, I have a card for every situation. But despite my plasticization, I have been rationed to using a few select cards by my bookkeeper, who manages the numerous accounts. She prefers it that way. It allows her to track my purchases and get "points" for each one. It also keeps me out of trouble. You can't tip a stripper with a MasterCard.

On the other hand, it is still a man's world. For any new credit card we receive, despite the fact that both myself and my spouse are on the account, I (the male) am usually the only one allowed to make changes to the account. This pisses off my bookkeeper to no end. I, too, get aggravated, because my Saturday morning video games are interrupted with talking to someone in South Dakota to give permission to my spouse to make changes I am woefully unqualified to attempt. I even tell them to permanently change the account for her to be the primary decision maker. All to no avail. The process gets repeated over and over like some bad sci-fi time loop.

The comedy reached new heights last week when we received no less than a dozen new Discover cards in the mail. Inquiry into the matter led to the discovery that we had three separate accounts. When attempting to merge them all together into one, we had spoken with four separate people. Each needed confirmation by myself, allocating permission to the spouse to make changes, then passing the phone back to her because I had no earthly idea what was going on. Apparently they'll mail out new cards willy-nilly, but it still takes an act of Congress to close an account.

I read recently about using a thumbprint to draw money out of an account. This sounded like a cool option until I envisioned someone using my severed thumb at Toys-R-Us. I long for the day when a chip in my head allows me to pay for things. It's much harder to carry around a severed head than a thumb. Trust me on this one.

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