Tony Coyle was in trouble. He could not remember the answer to his bank’s security question “In what city did you first meet your spouse?”
The problem was that Coyle had been married five times. He had no memory of which wife he had used several years ago when he first set up his bank account. So today – in desperation – he entered the first-encounter meeting place of all five wives, one at a time.
But this ploy only made the bank’s computer suspicious. It then asked Coyle to enter the number of his debit card. He tried, but the card was so old and worn that the numbers were blurred. Coyle, who was near-sighted, entered the wrong number. This caused the bank’s computer screen to post, in huge type, “THEFT SUSPECTED!” and then shut down.
The trouble had started when Coyle flew from his home in Chicago to visit his beauteous sweetheart Wanda in Georgia. On his arrival, Coyle booted up his computer to query his checking account status on his bank’s website. His computer promptly crashed.
Wanda said, “Use my Apple computer. It never fails.” Coyle gladly accepted the offer. He wished he had bought an Apple years ago. He was tired of Microsoft, clicking 16 keys for every function, and having to buy a new version of Word every two years.
He booted up his bank’s website. And that was when the trouble began about naming his first encounter with his first wife, and so forth.
Coyle shut down Wanda’s computer and decided to take his own computer to a repair shop. As he drove off, in Wanda’s car – which had an “OBAMA-BIDEN 2012’ sticker on the rear window – a policeman flagged him down. The cop said, “Mister, I don’t much like Mr. Obama and his socialist buddies. Show me your driver’s license.”
Then the cop said, “So you’re from Chicago. Isn’t that where Obama began his conspiracy? And how come you’re driving a vehicle with Georgia plates?” So Coyle had to tell him about Wanda, the busted computer, the bank’s security questions – the whole catastrophe.
Reluctantly the policeman let Coyle proceed. On the way to the computer shop, he noticed that Wanda’s car needed gas. He found a gas station and inserted his debit card in the slot. A sign appeared: NOT VALID – SEE THE ATTENDANT. The attendant said, “Our computer indicates you may be a computer card thief. Shall I call a cop, or will you pay in cash?” Coyle paid in cash, using the last few dollars he had brought with him. By now he was weary and wished computers and credit cards had never been invented.
After surrendering his computer to the repair shop, Coyle returned to Wanda’s home, opened a beer and collapsed on the sofa. Wanda asked him to recount his day. At this point Coyle made a big mistake. He began by telling Wanda about his inability to recall which of his five wives’ first encounter was the one he had chosen for the bank’s security question.
Wanda said, “FIVE wives? You told me you were married only once before. What’s up, Coyle?”
Coyle back-pedaled as fast as he could, but only partly succeeded in quieting Wanda’s outrage at having been lied to.
“You wanted to make me No. 6?!!” she said.
And so it went, for more than two hours. Eventually Coyle’s remorse became obvious to Wanda. Another softening factor was the terrible day Coyle had been going through with his computer and credit cards.
At last Wanda accepted Coyle’s apologies and his promise never to lie to her again. To seal the pact, Coyle offered to take Wanda for a full-course dinner at the town’s finest eatery, the Cracker Barrel. With all the gusto that forgiveness and true love can engender, Coyle and Wanda ordered an epicurean repast of fried chicken, onion rings, home fries, okra, corn bread and peach cobbler, plus sweetened ice tea.
As the meal progressed, Coyle’s spirits rose. He felt that, with time, he could ultimately restore Wanda’s confidence in him.
She stood beside him at the cash register as Coyle pulled out his billfold to pay for their supper. He handed the clerk his debit card. When she rang it up, lights began to flicker on the machine. The clerk said, “I’m sorry, sir, but your bank tells me you’ve overdrawn your funds.”
Coyle groaned, “And I don’t have any more cash with me.”
Wanda gave Coyle the sort of look you might bestow on a mentally challenged chimpanzee. With a sigh she said, “It’s okay, Tony. I’ll pay the supper bill. I’m sure any of your five wives would do the same.”
Bob Driver is a former columnist and editorial page editor for the Clearwater Sun. Send him an email at email@example.com.