Tag Archives: The New Math

A Prayer for the Unprincipled


What am I aiming for here?

What’s a good balance between ambition and contentment? Self-service and social outreach?

Is balance best? Or full-throated zeal?

Is it better to be a doctor or a hippie? Do I need more academic achievements? Professional accolades? Should I have seen more sunrises? Should I have spent more time communing with nature? In classrooms? Pressing superiors for money? Fighting for more opportunities? Glad-handing? Networking? Meditating? Helping people? Helping myself?

Should I focus on getting better at writing? Hockey? Soccer? Should I be healthier? Should I read more books? Should I try to be the best at the things with which I’m already so familiar? Or should I table my established talents and focus on doing new things with all the inefficiency of the inexperienced? Is it good to do what you’re good at? Or cowardly?

Is it a source of pride to be at the same company for a long time, or does that signal a lack of exploration? Is this commitment or stagnation? Do I need to achieve more or enjoy more? Should I enjoy achieving? Should I try to achieve enjoyment?

Do I need to find ways to be content with stillness? Or is it admirable drive that pushes me in quiet moments?

Are discomfort, fear and misery things to be pushed through? Or steered around? Is it healthy self-awareness to allow myself a breather? Give myself a break? Let myself off the hook? Or am I only allowing my flaws to flourish?

How much self-flagellation before I’m permitted to move on from today’s mistakes? Yesterday’s?

If we achieve nothing, how many points do we get for trying? Do the points matter?

Should I ignore the critics, the naysayers, the haters? Or should I at least consider their points for validity and guidance?

If I long for people, have I failed at independence? If I’m self-sufficient, am I denying company? If I’m supposed to be self-guided, do I ignore other people’s praise? Their desires? Their love?

Do I idolize the adventurer? The entrepreneur? The good neighbor? The fearless change-agent? The patient mother? The comedian? The drug-addled genius? Do I idolize the person who idolizes no one?

Should I dance with abandon or practice admirable self-restraint? Should I live for this moment or construct a future?

Do we revere the widely admired? Or the rebellious? Should reverence even be a factor? Does it matter who’s reverent and who’s being rebelled against?

Is adhering to your principles better than realizing you’re wrong?

What should I do right now? Tomorrow? Next week?

Should I embrace my nature or triumph over it?


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A Delicate Balance

[I’m fairly certain I just don’t have the mental capacity to comprehend convoluted banking practices. Still, I thought this was amusing. This is the actual transcript of my customer service online chat.]

Thank you for choosing Bank of America. You are now being connected to a Chat Specialist. For security purposes, please remember to close your chat window when completed.

JASON: Hi! Thank you for being a valued Bank of America customer! My name is Jason. How may I assist you with your personal accounts today?

ME: I just had a question regarding overdraft protection for my checking account.

JASON: I truly understand your concern regarding overdraft protection on your account and I will definitely check that for you.

JASON: To begin with, may I have your complete name and the last four digits of the account number you are referring to please?

ME: Hannah ******, ****

JASON: Thank you for that information. Would you mind if I will address you with your first name during our chat conversation?

ME: Certainly, that’s fine.

JASON: That’s great, thank you Hannah!

JASON: What about our overdraft protection please?

ME: This week, overdraft protection kicked in, transferring $100 from my credit account—but according to my account, I had sufficient funds to cover all my transactions.

ME: Having made no deposits beyond overdraft protection, I still have $123 in my account—that means I still had a $23 cushion.

ME: (er, $128)

JASON: I do get your point and allow me to check it for you.

JASON: Please click on Account Details Sub tab. On the left hand corner, please click on Available Balance History.

JASON: Are you in the page please Hannah?

ME: yes

JASON: Perfect!

JASON: No, if we are going to compute the transaction posted on your account last 6th of February, from Bay Area Sleep as Tampa to Checkcard **** Starbucks, the total debit transaction was at $935.57

ME: ok

JASON: And if you can see your accounting ending balance on the 3rd of February, prior to the overdraft protection transfer of $100 took place, your balance was at $922.84.

JASON: With that note, to protect your account from being overdrawn, the overdraft protection has to take place.

JASON: This will you for your account not to be assessed of $35.00 overdraft fee.

ME: Ok, I understand that expenditures for that period are more…than the balance for that period? I guess? What I don’t understand is, if I were going to be overdrawn otherwise, and I only received $100, then how do I have more than $100 now?

JASON: I certainly do get your point and allow me to address it for you.

JASON: Please have a look on the following transactions Bay Area Sleep in the amount of $50.00 and Sahara Café in the amount of $8.82.

ME: Ok

JASON: And Bar B Q in the amount of $6.37.

JASON: As you can see, since it is still in the processing status, the amount has been credited back on your account until such time the merchants claim the payment on your account.

ME: I don’t see that, no—the account balance appears to reflect the total after those figures have been subtracted.

JASON: Are you still in the available balance history page please?

ME: yes

JASON: Okey, let go for the transactions mentioned above.

ME: Ok

JASON: First the Bay Area Sleep Processing on the 6th of February, and dated 7th of February in the amount of $50.00

ME: Ok

JASON: The first one dated 6th, we deducted it and we credit back again on your account on the 7th.

ME: Ok, I can sort of see that—I just have trouble following the information on this page

JASON: Perfect!

JASON: Our endeavor is always to provide world class service to our customers and I hope I have made an attempt for the same today.

ME: You have certainly made an attempt, yes.

JASON: You are most welcome! And have a lovely day ahead of you!


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