Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Aristocats, er, crats

If you haven't seen this movie yet, please tell your boss that you're experiencing intestinal distress* and go out and see it NOW NOW NOW.

If you haven't heard of "The Aristocrats", here's the lowdown: Basically, just about every comedian you've ever seen on TV, and some you haven't, tell the same horribly dirty, not really all that funny, joke. For about an hour and a half. And it's hysterical. Also educational. Here's what I learned:

1) Bob Saget? Wicked fucking funny, dude. Also, a dirty, dirty motherfucker who is going straight to hell, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200.

2) Eddie Izzard? Loves the ganj. Also, he is still hysterically funny, I don't care what you heard in the reviews. He just doesn't tell jokes, so much, or, if he does, he tells them in French and it takes 20 minutes to set them up. I can't wait until we become best friends and he gives me makeup tips and lends me his little kimono. It's going to be fantastic.

3) Gilbert Gottfried? Not annoying, when he has sufficiently annoying material. It's like this horrible joke was his antimatter, and he cancelled himself out. All of sudden he was hysterical. It makes no sense to me either. Usually, I hate his whole, "Now I will hold you hostage by being horrible until you laugh, so laugh, motherfucker, or it will get worse" kind of humor.

* I used to do this all the time at my first crappy publishing job out of college. My boss thought I had the weakest intestines in the world.**

** People who use footnotes need flogging.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Road Trip!

Just outside of Augusta, we stopped for gas and I spied a sign in the window of the mart: MARLBOROS: STATE MINIMUM.

I turned to Isaac, who was filling up the tank. "Um, I'm going in for a minute." He nodded OK.

I looked around me wildly, as though up to no good, and dashed across the pavement to the mart. I sidled up to the register.

"Do you have cartons of Camel Lights?" I asked the woman.

She looked at me in amusement. "Of course!"

I plunked down my wallet. "Excellent. I'll take one."

"OK, honey. $33.12."

$33.12! I snatched up the carton before she could change her mind and dashed out to the lot, holding it over my head like a prize.

"33.12, bitches!" I announced to Isaac and Cathy. "I'm RICH!"

"Yeah, prison rich," Isaac said.

"Dude, no kidding. I am holding, in my hand, the equivilant of..." I did the math. "ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY DOLLARS WORTH OF CIGARETTES."*

Isaac just shook his head.

"When I get back to New York? I'm trading these for a bitch."

* The joke here is that I cannot do math. It's funny, see?

Monday, August 29, 2005

20 Questions

I spent the weekend in Maine, pretending to be outdoorsy. I think I fooled everyone. OK, not really. It's pretty hard to fool your friends from high school about much of anything.

A longer, more detailed version of our adventures is forthcoming, as soon as I wade through the work I missed on Friday. However, here is a conversation from the car ride up, to tide you over:

CATHY: Let's play a game!

ME: Erg.

CATHY: Let's play a game!

ME: What game?

CATHY: Twenty questions!

ME: Erg. Cathy, I hate games.

OK, I've got one. Ask me a question.

ME: Is it bigger than a breadbox?

CATHY: That cannot be your first question.

ME: Why ... oh wait. I remember. OK. Um. Is it animal, vegetable, or mineral?

CATHY: Animal.

ME: Is it a giraffe?

CATHY: You suck at this game. I hate playing games with you.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Listen Up, Non-Gay Men of America:

It's probably time to stop acting gay:

The male resistance to waxing is melting away

Straight men should not obsess over their body hair. This is not to say that they should cease grooming. I understand that just about everyone has some hair where they don't want it to be. Absolutely, keep yourself groomed. I'm all in favor. However, when an entire industry forms around your back hair, that's where I have to get off the bus, fellas.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Fix

You guys, my company has it in for me, and here's how I know: Every single time I try to make a date, they plan an event involving drinks right before it. I have to think my managers' puckish senses of humor are involved in this somehow. Last time, I turned up for my date about 2.5 sheets to the wind and 15 minutes late. So, so classy.

Anyway, I am going out this evening after work to wish a coworker goodbye and I am going to have one drink. Are you listening? ONE DRINK.

Sigh. I don't believe me, either. The date's with a musician, though, so that should be fine, right? Musicians love drunk girls.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Won't You Be

Wow, my neighbor really needs to move back to Des Moines or whatever, like, yesterday. She woke me up at 3:00 this morning because my stereo was too loud. Now, I like to listen to music while I fall asleep, but I'm pretty good about keeping the volume down. As a result, I had the volume down so low that it was probably on par with, say, a conversation in a normal tone of voice. Also, my building is elevendy-hundred years old and has old-school two-foot-thick walls.

I should have known this would be a problem when I met her and she complained that the club downstairs is too loud ... on Saturday nights. Dude. Why are you in New York? Seriously. Personally, I am not paying this much money for the peace and quiet, I'll tell you that.

Anyway, I shut my stereo off and no big deal. However, I'll probably say something to her the next time her poor tortured dog (big dogs + small spaces = not good) starts crying or she leaves her TV on for sixteen days straight at top volume.

Monday, August 22, 2005

I Am Horribly Vain

Again, I am blogging in order to move my picture down the page, and for no other reason. Really, one should not feature two pictures of oneself above the fold on one's personal website. It looks, er, well exactly like what it is: Which is horribly, horribly vain.

Speaking of vain, I had a very interesting conversation the other night in which I admitted to a friend that I believe, on some level, that just about every man I know would like to sleep with me. Which is not to say that I believe he intends to. No, no. Many of these guys are pals of mine, and their desire to sleep with me is, in my opinion, healthily submerged and nearly subconscious, at this point. Also, I should hasten to add, it has nothing to do with my alleged hotness, and everything to do, you know, guys.

I'm OK with this, though. I enjoy this aspect of the male personality, as I frankly enjoy most aspects of the male personality. My pal JP informed me the other day, somewhat gravely, that I really like dudes. I had a wicked (hi, Boston!) urge to tell her that I have known this, ever since I was a little girl, and not to judge me.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Dolly Parton Is My Homegirl

My friend Sean just went to Berlin to play jazz and drink beer in 200 year old pubs with handsome blonde women named Uta. Sort of makes your life look like a stack of crap, huh? That's what I thought, too.

On the other hand, I went to see Dolly Parton at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday night. Smyres took a picture of me in front of the marquee.

It's also worth noting that there used to be a woman's ass in this picture. She was crossing the street when Smyres snapped the photo.

"No worries, Fatsuit," Smyres said. "I'ma photoshop her ass right on outta there." And she did.

Smyres is teaching me to like country music. I think she's done too good a job, maybe. I'm pretty sure my next-door neighbor would agree with that, poor thing. It's like a 24-hour-a-day chain gang and cotton-picking session over here these days. If I don't blog for awhile, you'll know it's cuz I'm playing the washboard.

Dolly P is my new hero, however. She plays about 900 instruments and she's cute as a button and she works the ginormo boobs like nothing you've ever seen before. Also, I love someone who can attack themselves with a bedazzler and look normal. She's not human, our Dolly. She was given to us by the la-ord-uh, and all we can do is be grateful.

She played "Jolene", which made several Dolly Lookalike drag queens in the audience weep, and "Me and Bobby McGee", which made me weep, and "Nine to Five", which made Smyres punch me repeatedly in the shoulder from sheer joy.

Also, something disturbing happened. A mother and son, definitely foreign, perhaps alien altogether, started making out with each other in the seats in front of us. The boy was about 13 years old and fat and had a bowl-cut and wore a t-shirt that said, I kid you not, "No Fat Chicks." The mother was small and skinny and looked like a librarian. They started out with their arms around each other in a way that a New Englander like myself might find a little disturbing, and wound up kissing each other loudly on the face whenever the show hit a highlight.

At one point, Smyres leaned over to me and said, "I am going to call the police," and I have to tell you that I didn't think it was a bad idea, really.

Later on, I ran into them again at the t-shirt stand while I was buying my unironic Dolly Parton baseball tee, and they were still fondling each other, only this time, I could hear that the mother had an accent, so I decided that maybe it's OK to fondle your son in Denmark, and I tried to brush it off.

I showed Smyres my shirt and she informed me that it will pay for itself in free drinks. I will let you know how that goes. I killed two drinking companions this weekend, and not for snoring. Part of this is because I generally stick to beer, and I'm good at drinking beer, and part of it is because I never ever want to go home and go to sleep, even when it's obviously what I should do. Especially then.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

A Brief Note on the Whole Beauty Thing...

...and then I'll stop being a girl.

I had a boyfriend once who told me, lovingly, "You're not classically beautiful. But I find you quite attractive!" I broke up with him about two weeks later.

The whole beautiful thing is very hard on us girls, but you know that, so I won't bore you with yet another litany of our hardships. I'll just say this: The cure for worrying about this shit is moving to New York. There are so many ridiculously beautiful people of both (perhaps I should say "all") genders here, that you're never going to compete. After about three weeks of freaking out about my clothes and my hair and my lack of accessories, I decided to just paint my toenails and let it go.

The end result of this is that I've become a lot more confident. Mrs P has always said that I dress like an anime superhero, what with my t-shirts and short skirts and sturdy sneakers and crazy hair and bright colors, and she's right. So I'm just embracing it. If anyone can tell me where I could get some bullet-proof cuffs or perhaps a Lasso of Truth, I'd be most grateful.

(A note to comicbook nerds: Yes, I know Wonder Woman isn't anime. Calm down. This is why you're finding it so hard to meet girls.)

Friday, August 19, 2005

Death by Diet Coke

It would take 188.07 cans of Diet Coke to kill me. The good news is that I've only had 183.25 cans so far today.

Death by Caffiene:

RSS, Hurrah!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have RSS:


I have fixed the archives, because I am a genius. RSS coming soon, I hope.

In the meantime, big news: in a month or so (an eternity in Internet time, I know, but bear with me) you will be viewing a whole new Smash. I'm hiring a company to redesign the site so that it's extra shiny and pretty and nice. So here's what I need from you: taglines. This is the little snippet that appears under my mugshot. I'm out. It's embarrassing enough to spend half my free time writing about myself. I can't also be expected to come up with a soundbite, you know? So any thoughts are much appreciated.

First prize: My ever-lasting devotion.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Archives Are Broken. RSS Is Broken. Everything Is Broken.

Please stay tuned. I am actually trying to fix things, which means that everything will be worse in the short term. This is the way of things.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Washland: Clean Clothes and the Stories Are Free!

Feeling low? Might I recommend hieing yourself over to your nearest laundromat? You can clean your clothes, and, as a bonus, remind yourself that you are very, very fortunate and should never complain again.

My laundromat is staffed by two middle-aged latina women who rarely speak, but often roll their eyes as I stuff fourteen towels and three pairs of jeans into a single load. I feel guilty about these women. I am sure that my whiteness and relative prosperity has somehow caused their lot in life, although I'm not certain how. So I usually just smile and mutter hello and then continue destroying the equipment.

Tonight, I was sitting in my favorite chair by the door, reading Blink, because I am the last person on the planet who has yet to do so, when a young latino man came in and started talking to one of the women.

"What the fuck you got on your leg?" she asked him.

He proudly displayed his tattoo, which, from what I could see over my glasses, appeared to be a nude woman surrounded by swirls of her long flowing hair. There was also another figure, but I couldn't make out what it was doing.

"It's a tattoo," he said.

"What is she doing?" the woman demanded.

"She eating her pussy out."

I looked again. The other figure, was, in fact, another woman. Engaged in the act of, er, well.

"You sick fuck!" the woman screamed and swatted him. "Why you put that on your leg? WHY YOU WANNA PUT THAT ANYWHERE ON YOUR BODY?"

He tapped his chest. "That's me! That's how I roll." (As an aside, this is my new favorite expression.)

She shook her head. "What are you doing tonight?"

"Gonna get a six pack."

It was just about then that I started to get a sinking feeling.

"Well, be careful. I won't bail you out this time!"

The young man left, and the woman turned to her friend. "He's my youngest," she said proudly. She smiled. "My baby!"

A note to Ma Smash: It could be worse. I've only got the one tattoo, and there are no ladyparts anywhere in it!

Jennie Smash and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Monday, I had my very first bad day in New York.

Everyone told me it was coming.

"About every six weeks," Smyres told me. "I want to pack it up and move to Tennessee."

I couldn't find my metrocard in the morning, and I'd overslept. I had got heat exhaustion on Saturday going to the hardware store. (To buy a plunger, my least favorite new apartment purchase. Everyone looks at you like "I know what's in your toilet!") I still felt sick. I had my period and felt like eating large slabs of bloody meat and crying. There were dark circles under my eyes and wrinkles in the circles. I could see what I'd look like when I was an elderly person. It was horrifying.

I came home from work and wanted only a shower and some cheese. I was out of towels, and out of food. I called a couple people and no one was home. I sat down to do some writing, and discovered that I had no talent. I sat down on my bed to have a cry, and discovered that I sound stupid crying. I actually say: "Boo hoo hoo. Boo hoo hoo." Who says that? What an asshole. I thought about beating myself with an extension cord, but decided that would be hard to explain when the cops arrived.

I got out of bed. I decided to finish setting up my apartment. I would hang pictures. I had no nails. Tons of screws, but no nails. I screwed a picture to the wall, was horrified at how ... mental institution it looked, securely fixed to the wall. I decided to set up my stereo instead.

I set up my stereo, with very few problems, and put on Nina Simone. She sounded tinny. I switched some shit around. I got out my vaccuum and several scrub brushes and cleaned the place within an inch, as the saying goes. (The inch is under my bed, and I can't reach it.)

I thought about my old landlord in Rozzie, who used to say, in her excellent Irish accent, "Watch yerself, Jennifer. I've got the PMS, and if it iddn't bolted down, I'm going to scrub it."

I felt better.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Home Remedy

Mrs. Piddlington: Hey, I heard a good trick for red heads to keep their color longer.
JennieSmash: What's that?
Mrs. Piddlington: I don't know if it works, but I'm curious.
Mrs. Piddlington: Soak your hair in cranberry juice.
Mrs. Piddlington: It's from my magazine.
JennieSmash: Wow.
JennieSmash: That sounds like it would work.
Mrs. Piddlington: "Apply 1/2 cup cranberry juice to dry hair and let sit 10 minutes. Rinse with cool water to seal in color. Repeat once a month"
JennieSmash: And if I got a UTI, I could just stick my head up my ass!
Mrs. Piddlington: Ha!

Come In With The Milk. Come In With The Milk. Come In With The Milk.

I just saw The Aviator on DVD, and I don't know what people were talking about: Howard Hughes was completely sane, and anyone who says differently is totally riddled with syphilis and staph.

It's true that I have been accused, now and then, of hypochondria. However, I see nothing in the least strange about waiting beside a bathroom door until someone comes in and spares me having to touch the doorknob myself. And as for repetitive thoughts ... dear God don't get me started. I mean, please, I'm begging you: Don't get me started.

On another note, isn't Leonardo DiCaprio supposed to be, like 30 years old now? Even in his burn makeup in the last half of the movie, he looked like someone I could be arrested for viewing in the altogether. That dirty Gisele. Guess she likes 'em young.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I Can't Take Credit for the Band Name

Please enjoy my latest contribution to the Black Table.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Falling Dolls

I had insomnia the past two nights, so I decided to stock up on OTC sleeping pills and melatonin and just drug myself into a stupor. I've been through this before: Once you get on a wakeful tear, you have to break the cycle any way you can.

So last night, I slept like a baby, but I had the weirdest dreams. I only remember one of them. I had decided to move back to Boston, right away. Even my mother was surprised and upset. Everyone kept saying, "But you were so happy in New York!" And I said, "Well, yeah, but if I move in with my Mom, I won't have to cook anymore."

I'm not sure what this means. Except that I'm lazy and that medication has a funny effect on my little brain.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Profiles in Honesty

A friend of mine and I recently decided to try online dating. I've done this before, with decidedly mixed results. She's never done it, but feels that now is the time. I'm feeling fairly optimistic, since I basically just want to meet people in my new city. I mean, that's a lot easier than looking for the love of your life, the way I admittedly was when I was doing this before.

Just to make sure, though, I vetted my profile with my pal. She wrote back and said that she thought it was really good and that she might need my help:

You might be called in to spruce up my profile. I can't think of
anything interesting about myself that won't scare the dudes away.

* I can spend money faster than anyone you've ever met.
* I have anxiety problems and sometimes take prescription pills to
alleviate panic attacks.
* I want to have a baby ... NOW.

I'm really leaning toward her leaving it as is.

A Little Positivity for Your Tuesday

So, I don't know if you know this, but New York is really expensive. I know! I was surprised, too. The point is that my decision to live in Manhattan (in a small box like a veal, but a veal who lives in an awesome neighborhood) required me to make some serious sacrifices in terms of expenses. The first thing to go, I decided, would be cable.

I've been cable-free for awhile now, and the weird thing is that I don't miss it at all. No, sorry, that's not the weird thing: The weird thing is that I feel better about myself in general, because without cable, I don't watch TV, and without TV, I'm not exposed to a continuous flow of android women who were grown in labs specifically for the purpose of making me and my curvy little person feel like crap.

Don't get me wrong: I love TV. When I visit my folks, I stare at it blankly for hours. I'm never going to be one of those people who brags about not having a television. I don't think it's particularly boast-worthy one way or the other.

But the other day, I was getting ready to go out and I put on a shirt that was, oh, maybe a little tight, and when I looked in the mirror, instead of thinking, "God, I'm a big fat cow," I was all, "Meh. Maybe another shirt." And then I looked again and thought, "Ah, fuck it." And went out as is.

Of course, the other option is that this has nothing to do with TV, and everything to do with me growing up a little.

Monday, August 8, 2005

Sings the Blues

Ma Smash: Are you at home?

Me: I am.

Ma Smash: Is someone singing?

Me: Yars. Billie Holiday. Sorry, I leaned near the speaker.

Ma Smash: Oh! I heard this voice singing and I thought it was you! But you were talking. And singing at the same time. It was very confusing.

Me: That's because when I sing, I imitate Billie Holiday.

Ma Smash: Well, she sounds just like you.

The Joys of Apartment Living

My next-door neighbor was having sex this morning. I know this, because one whole wall of my apartment was shaking. As I live in a pre-war building, and the walls are quite thick, this is impressive. Less impressive? The walls shook for, oh, about two minutes. Throw him back, lady.

ETA: My roommate in college used to call out reviews to our upstairs neighbor, whenever she had company. A random sampling:

"Throw him back!"

"Aw, c'mon, man, throw out your A-game!"

And finally: "That's the one! He's a keeper!"

I should really look her up. She was fun!

Sunday, August 7, 2005

And None Hold the Key!

Some group of native people or other -- forgive the nonspecificity, but it's Sunday, and I'm far too lazy for research -- believed that if you told people your real name, which had been given to you at birth by the shaman, that you would lose your soul. I love this idea. Not of having a secret name, necessarily, but about having a secret self.

For the most part, I tell it like it is. Not out of any commitment to truth, necessarily, but because I am incapable of subterfuge. Things pop into my head and then they roll right out my mouth. I get mad easily and hold grudges never. My blood pressure should be right on par with a cold-blooded animal away from its heat rock.

A short while ago, a friend of mine called me up to ask me if I was mad at her. We hadn't talked for awhile, and she was afraid that she'd done something to piss me off. I said, "Have I called you lately to tell you that I'm pissed? No? Then I'm not pissed." It's true. If nothing else, you always know where you stand with me.

But there are some things that I'll never tell. Secrets that are so small and inconsequential that there's no reason not to tell them, but I never will. Thoughts I had when I was a kid, and the world was covered with a hallucinatory sheen that I can still glimpse sometimes when I'm sleeping enough and spending enough time alone and remembering who I am. These are my secret self.

Even more recently, another friend of mine told me about why she'd stopped talking to this girl we both know. The girl was needy, and wanted to know, always, what my friend was thinking, what she wanted, what they should do on that particular day, how she was feeling. Was she mad? Was she mad? Was she mad? This girl could not be alone.

I felt sorry for her. She must feel naked all the time. Exposed. There should always be a locked room in your heart, where your best secrets live. If you give them away, all you're left with is your reflection in the mirror.

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Today's Epiphany

If people could see me eat when I'm alone, no one would ever ever want to kiss me again. They might not be able to look me in the eye, even. It's that gross. I just ate half a box of crackers with a jar of salsa and half a jar of sour cream. I eat like a bulimic, except without the purging part. When I was done eating, I sat there slack-jawed and looked around me in horror. There were crumbs EVERYWHERE. On my bed, on my shirt, on my knees. The soles of my feet. In my hair. In the blinds.

I swear to God it looked like Cookie Monster had just blown through.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Vermin of All Sorts

This morning I wandered into my bathroom to take an innocent pee and a horrible segmented she-beast ran out from underneath my trashcan. Don't ask how I know it was a she: It was wearing earrings. But seriously, I refuse to fight to the death with a male supervillian, because of implications of woman battery when he gives me a cinematic bruise along my left cheekbone and so, the bug, it was a she, just trust me.

My first thought was: Roach. I've never seen a roach, so I wasn't sure if it was one. But it had antennae and it was super-fast, so it was roachy enough for me. I smushed it with the corner of the trashcan, much more easily than I would have thought, given roaches' bionic reputation, and headed off to work, feeling slightly dejected.

I take the F or the V to work. Which is to say that I take the F, but sometimes I sit on the V for five to ten minutes while it sits there for one million years, unmoving, as if it were the air-conditioned waiting room for the F (which it is, I swear). Today, whilst sitting on the V, staring out the open doors, I saw a truly horrifying sight. A small brown rat, cute enough, if it were in a picture book and not scampering down the subway platform, paused in front of the open doors and peered in at us, twitching its nose. It looked for all the world like it was going to ask if the V stopped at Broadway/LaFayette.

I screamed, for the second time this morning, and yelled, "Rat!" No one else even looked up. I was momentarily embarrassed, until I realized that I regularly see people humping the air or sniffing their figures or yelling "Fuck fuck fuck, you bitch, I said FUCK!" all Motherless Brooklyn-style on the F, so who cares.

When I got to work, I did a Google search and discovered that the bug I saw was actually a silverfish, not a roach, and therefore, according to my coworker Madeleine, nothing to worry about. Of course, she grew up in New York, so she's not easily impressed by bugs.

Monday, August 1, 2005

Welcome to New York. Please Pull Down Your Pants and Make Yourself at Home.

Today, while wandering Chelsea in search of answers to my banking dilemmas, I saw a man begging for change. That in and of itself was not so strange. What was strange was that he was shirtless, and had pulled his pants down so far that his bare bum was resting on the pavement. Basically, were his bidness not snagged on the elastic waistband of his track pants, he would have been nude.

The woman standing next to me at the walk light noticed this as well, and curled up her lip in disgust.

"Oh, nuh unh," she said. "I know he ain't sitting there all bare-assed thinking I'm gonna give him some change."

"Maybe he thinks that we'll give him five bucks to put his pants back on," I suggested.

She shook her head. "You want money? You put your pants back on your own self. There are rules."

I was glad to hear that.

"This is why I tell my boyfriend, 'You take those shoes off before you come walking in on my carpet,'" she said. "You don't know what nasty-ass shit you stepped in today. Like homeless people's ass prints. That kind of shit."

I mean, excellent point, right?

Bank of My Ass

This morning I went to the bank to take out some money for coffee and poundcake, and found that $2500 was missing from my checking account. This caused me to lay a dinosaur-sized egg in the vestibule of the ATM and embark upon a three hour odyssey of calling: my bank, my local HR people, and corporate HR.

The upshot was the check was returned for insufficient funds. The catch? The funds, they are quite sufficient. The company I work for is doing just fine, thanks and has been since, like, the Civil War.

Our HR people, who are excellent and deserve to have statues dedicated to them in the Farmer's Market over on Broadway, straightened the whole thing out and got me money and even managed to pretend that I did not have an obvious and tremendously professional panic attack in one of their offices.

And by the way, because I'm crazy, of course I briefly thought that my check had actually bounced. I could see the media blogs lighting up: "Man, did you hear about the New York Times? 150 years of stability and then Hubley joins up and they go right down the shitter. It's like she brought the Year 2000 with her. Jayson Blair was nothing compared to this."

But no, no. It was not my beloved employer. It was, rather, my bank, which has lovely customer service people but terrible systems. Another friend of mine just had $500 go missing, and last week, when I needed to replace my checks, I was told that they could not issue me temporary checks, because I opened my account in Boston. Nice "merger", you guys.