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Stressed Over Nothing? Check.

October 25, 2002

I need to order new checks. I’ve needed to order new checks for a long time, since I pulled out the last book of blank ones in the box and put it in my wallet lo those many weeks ago. The order form is sitting in my in box, waiting for me to fill it out. I see it there and put “order checks” on my to do list. Do I then order them? No, I do not. I just transfer the reminder to the next to do list I write and keep procrastinating about this task.

Why am I not ordering checks? (Well, right now, obviously, I’m not ordering them because I’m busy writing about not ordering them, which I suppose is just another way to delay having to do it.) Maybe it’s because I have to decide on a new design. The one I’ve had for years, with subdued drawings of quilt designs across the top, is no longer available. That’s not surprising; it’s been so long since I last got new checks that the ones I’m using still have “19__” printed on them where the year goes. If I could still get that design, I’d have ordered them already, because it’s a good fit. It reflects one of my main interests and does it simply and subtly.

So now I have to find another design that I like. I could go with a traditional choice, the plain blue or green or pink or yellow safety paper, but that’s boring. I don’t want my checks to be boring. I want my checks to express something about me. A lot of the designs I’ve seen are pretty, but when I think about whether I’d want to use them all the time in all check writing situations, I hesitate. Yes, the autumn leaf ones appeal to me now, but what about when spring comes? I like Eeyore, but he only appears in every fourth check in the Winnie the Pooh set and in a way too colorful and cutesy version anyway. There are some designs with gold and silver foil accents that are trying to be sophisticated and elegant, but I’m afraid they would come off as just a little bit tacky.

I really don’t know why I’m worrying about this so much. I don’t write that many checks, and most of the ones I do write are sent off in the mail so I never see the person who gets them. Maybe that’s the problem—my check is all they see of me, so I want it to make a good impression. Seeing that written out, it strikes me as a bit nutty that I should care what a clerk opening mail thinks of me based on my choice of check design. They probably don’t even have time to notice. Even if they do notice, and find my checks worthy of derision, why should that matter? It shouldn’t, but that doesn’t keep me from thinking about it.

So let’s say I can get over the hurdle of worrying about the reaction of people I don’t know and will never meet. The path to getting some new checks should be clear, right? Well, no. My other fear is that I’ll pick a design and order it, maybe one I’m not that crazy about but which is the best out of the options I can find, and then later find something better. So I could just get that something better when and if I see it, you say? Well, no. I couldn’t just destroy the ones with the now less than ideal design because that would be wasteful, and I wouldn’t want to order more checks so I’d have the better design to use next because we might move or I might change banks (never mind that I have no plans to do either of those things). It’s just this kind of nonsensical self-induced stress that causes me to wonder if I need more therapy or perhaps some mind-altering drugs.

I made a fresh to do list this morning, and “order checks” is nestled in between “laundry” and “polish toenails”. Maybe come Monday I’ll have not only clean clothes and pretty toes but also closure on this check ordering nonsense. If I have any free time, maybe I’ll make myself a “WWNPD?” bracelet so the next time I’m faced with one of these dilemmas, I’ll have a reminder to ask myself “What would normal people do?”

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