Big Brother watching you and your plastic
I’ve enjoyed a mighty two weeks entering the autumn, including a Kerry wedding and a siesta in Waterford.
During that time, I have not been mean in any way.
I have stood my round when it was due, and behaved in a courteous and civil fashion. It accordingly strikes me very forcibly this week that in all that fortnight, I have not handled real money at all at any stage.
It has all been bloody plastic, and plastic, lads and lassies, is our real enemy in the modern world.
I fear plastication, in all its forms, even more than I fear Donald Trump and that boyo with the quare haircut and the hydrogen bomb in Korea. And that’s the pure truth, yet again.
We now know that plastication is slowly poisoning our entire world.
It is happening dramatically in the oceans, where fish stocks are being wiped out by having their innards blocked with plastic. It is happening also in our lakes and rivers. Plastic mountains are building up across every land on earth. Look in your own bin for immediate proof. Look in your own fridge too. Look into the rear of all the refuse trucks groaning past with their bellies, like those of the whales, stuffed with plastics. The stuff is everywhere. About 20 years ago, I used enjoy going into my bank branch in Ennis.
There were very pleasant and chatty lady cashiers there who accepted my paper withdrawal slips, and handed me out wads of crisply comforting cash in return. Then, that bank, like all the others, redundantified those lovely ladies, and insisted on me accepting a bloody plastic card for all future transactions.
I have been very uncomfortable with that system right from the beginning.
I am of the cash generation, like many of you, I’m sure. Nowadays, my wallet is empty of cash, but fat with a whole range of the plastic cards, through which Big Brother is keeping an eye on me. I suspect that, with the depth of personal data on those cards today, Big Brother not only knows my DOB but also, the Lord between us and all harm, my exact DOD also. Plastic becomes more powerful and more pervasive daily, in every way.
It goes right across the scale. For example, I have a strong weakness for splendid smoked mackerel from Union Hall. Succulent, when you can breach the plastic vac-pac in which they are marketed. A few years ago, that was a simple operation, but nowadays, I need a sharp knife to get in to my luscious mackerel. It is the same story with the whole range of foods which are now protected by almost impenetrable plastic sheathing.
I am expending nearly as much energy freeing my food each day as I gain from the food itself. Yet again the truth. But let’s return to those bloody bank cards.
Even if I know that I have funds in my account to cover my purchases, I am always uncomfortable using my card at checkouts in stores or in other retail areas.
Many times the machines have requested that I repeat my PIN process all over again, as customers pile up behind in the queue.
It has not yet happened me at an ATM that my card has been swallowed up and not returned to me, for whatever reason, but I always expect that to happen once the bloody thing disappears into the bowels of the machine and it begins to mutter and groan. There is a new and more frightening dimension to the plastication process, which is even more frightening. You always retained some slight sense of being in control when you had to enter your PIN into those checkout machines.
Now that control is totally gone, because of this new tap technique, whereby your card is simply flicked over the machine, and you and your PIN are redundant altogether. Am I right or am I wrong? I hope the most of ye are reading this from honest to God paper format rather than from a flickering plastic screen!
End of cash and the rise of plastic: two weeks without handling real money have left Cormac uncomfortable.