Saturday, August 07, 2010

Jousting with Dragons

Who knows a man's name, holds that man's life in his keeping.
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Wizard of Earthsea

Posting in Nick's Bytes hasn't been one of my priorities for the past several weeks since I have been contending with a dragon named the Internal Review Service. That contest is over: I didn't lose, but I didn't win either. The IRS is returning the money (every cent I had) it levied from my bank account back on July 12th and stated that no further collection of the taxes I dispute owing will be made by them.

Now, having jousted with the dragon named IRS, I am against jousting with another dragon, my old nemesis, my bank. 

Of course, when the IRS dragon emptied my bank account of every cent, the checks I had previously written all bounced. And, my bank, whom I am told makes more money by charging its depositors fees that from interest on loans, immediately accessed me $35.00 for every check that bounced.

Even though the IRS is returning all of my money back to my account, I am still out $245.00 because of the "insufficient funds" fees. Therefore, I am now jousting the BB&T regarding the return of those fees. Does this never end?

Ursula K. Le Guin, in the four books of the EarthSea Cycle, wrote: Who knows a man's (true) name, holds that man's life in his keeping. The Internal Revenue Services and Branch Banking and Trust, as representatives of the principalities and powers of this earth. They are truly dragons—and jousting with them makes even less sense than Don Quixote jousting with windmills. However, thankfully one doesn't have to confront these dragons, whose true names we shall never know. And, one need not be a wizard to do it. 

All one truly has to do is deal with an individual human being who is part of the dragon but not all of the dragon. It is impossible to reason with a dragon, because most dragons, banks and government agencies, are not rational. But one can deal with a human being, whose name we can learn and know.

That's how I jousted with the IRS dragon. I sought and located a human being who was willing to share her name and listen to my words. I am still jousting with BB&T, since I have yet to find that person who is willing to share his/her name and listen to my story. I will continue to seek that human being.

One last thought about dragons, powers, and names:
It is no secret. All power is one in source and end, I think. Years and distances, stars and candles, water and wind and wizardry, the craft in a man's hand and the wisdom in a tree's root: they all arise together. My name, and yours, and the true name of the sun, or a spring of water, or an unborn child, all are syllables of the great word that is very slowly spoken by the shining of the stars. There is no other power. No other name.  ~  Ursula K. Le Guin (A Wizard of Earthsea) 

Blessings, my friends, dragon hunters and wizards and human beings all.


  1. You might be better off just getting money orders at the convenience store to pay your bills, and doing away with banks once and for all. Those fees are just hammering you!

  2. You really hung in there like a powerful knight! I am SO HAPPY that the IRS is going to return your funds!!! Way to go, Nick!

  3. It is not often one wins a battle with the IRS. You are one good dragon slayer.

    My sister has this kind of stuff happen to her in the past. It makes no sense to charge those ISF fees. Go to the president or and officer of the bank and plead your case. Show you good banking record over the years or your loyalty to that bank.

    Keep up the strong fight.

  4. Oh, Nick, I can identify with this much more than you know! You are so right about jousting with a human being instead of a dragon.

  5. My Bank of 30 Years does not exist no more.They asked for help for the govenrment during the bank bailouts. they were denied. the gov did bail out a pitsburge bank and then they bough my bank.

  6. Oh, Nick. No one should have to endure this. I'm so sorry, and I so wish I were wealthy enough to send you the money to wipe out your debt/dragon. I'm not, but my dear, I'm continuing to hold you in my prayers and meditations.

    Do you ever wonder what you did in a past life to deserve all this?

  7. Thank you for the update, Dragon Fighter Nick.

  8. I'm sorry that you have had to fight dragons but I'm glad you were worthy. It's nice to hear that someone successfully slayed a dragon.

    As for the bank, *sigh* again I'm sorry. I think your attitude about putting this on a human level is spot on. That loss of human touch has caused so much of the heartache to start with!

    Fight the good fight Nick.

  9. I think most of us have fought those particular dragons, Nick. Good luck with the bank. I was lucky and found a part of the dragon who would listen to me when I was dealing with pension matters earlier in the year. The very helpful dragon part had it sorted the same day! Has to be some kind of record...

  10. Thomas: I don’t think money orders would do the rick, Thomas. I’m dealing with some companies that will accept on credit or debit cards.

    The good news is: By September 3rd I should be completely away from BB&T and will a different bank that doesn’t depend on fees charged to its customers to make a profit.

  11. Carol: Yes, I did hang in there -- by necessity! It was rather like a cat hanging on to a high tree limb by its claws while dangling over a pond fill with alligators.

  12. Finding Pam: Thank you. Maybe I’m more of a dragon tamer than a dragon slayer! At the very least. The IRS didn’t consume me.

    I’m sorry that your sister—or anyone—has to go through something like this.

    As for those bank fees, the actions of BB&T seem to me to be so unethical that I don’t know how their executives can look people in the eye. For example, the NSF fee is $35.00. To maximize their fees, BB&T processes checks before deposits and the largest checks before the smaller ones. Someone who has 3 checks and one deposit processed might have no NSF fee; however, after the checks are processed, it’s conceivable they would have $105.00 in fees. Plus, $6.00/day as long as the account is “overdrawn!”

  13. As of this morning, gelt-eating dragon of BB&T bank is attacking again and gobbling my funds with new fees. I shall persevere until I have completed the switch to my new bank! Damn you, dragon!

  14. Welshcakes Limoncello : Oh, Pat! I am so sorry you can identify with this mess. No one ought to have to experience it.

  15. Mike Golch: I hope that the bank that bought your bank isn’t screwing you the way the bank that bought my bank is me!

  16. Lynilu : I so wish other didn’t have to put up with the greed of banks! Besides ventilating about the damned bank, my second objective in writing this is to forewarn people of what their “friendly banker” can do if the opportunity presents itself.

    This karmatic event, I believe, is the result of (1) not switching banks when, about 7 years ago, BB&T purchased the Bank of Louisville, and (2) being in that long period of melancholia from 2004 to 2008. I suppose I had no control over the latter, but wish I had recognized the situation with the former.

  17. Abby : You are most welcome. I wish I could report that all is back to Normal craziness” at the moment!

  18. Jennifer: You make excellent points about about putting this on a human level and that the loss of human touch has caused so much of the heartache!

    I would like to report that the human touch has been successful;
    however, since I wrote this post, the local branch bank manager and assistant manager have systematically avoided direct contact with me and the social worker who has been assisting me.

  19. Puss-in-Boots: You’re right! These two particular dragons are universal, aren’t they? Perhaps, following Ursula Le Guin’s story line, the world needs to know and be willing to speak their true names in order to pacify them?