The other day I grew suspicious when I opened the mail box, as my new bank checks were long overdue and all I saw, aside from the usual pile of advertisements and bills was a medium sized, very flat cardboard envelope. I grabbed a pair of scissors and quickly got at the heart of the mailing: a do-it-yourself, folding, bank box to hold the enclosed checks, register and check book cover.




In an apparent attempt to cut costs and most probably outsource assembly to the patrons, we are now asked to jump into Origami, the Japanese art of paper folding to create a given result using geometric folds and crease patterns. I looked askance at the proposed task, but given no apparent alternative, I rolled up my sleeves and joined the fold. As my slow-moving fingers struggled with the task I thought back to the long history of banks throughout the ages.




We have all seen that the banking industry has moved from large brick and mortar fortresses, abundantly staffed and looking rock-solid to a deposit of boutique branches, tucked away neatly behind the drive-up window of a former fast food franchise that had fallen to and failed the demands for more healthy fare. I am so out of the loop that the last time I ordered a burger and fries I got a checking account, debit card and an ATM code. At least I drove away not feeling guilty or bloated and the new toaster should come in handy next Christmas as a present.




I propose that the next time a time-warped bank robber demands cash, he is instead given an Origami instruction book and instructed to assemble a fold-out gun, wearable mask and a model of the getaway car, then sent packing to the back of the lobby to learn and master these delicate tasks. Of course in order to aspire to any success, he will have to take off his gloves and ski mask, re-pocket the pistol and concentrate on the delicate task at hand, as handcuffs are eventually applied and he is escorted into a squad car for delivery to another rock-solid building for confinement and no chance of escape.




Perhaps the older banks will find a higher calling and serve as local prisons, as the law abiding drive thru their banking process, queue up at the nearest ATM or simply go online.




I reluctantly folded and eventually assembled the checkbook box, but in doing so felt the need to know more about this art of the fold. I went online and beheld a rising sun of possibilities thirsting to emerge out of flat paper. In my digital world I have little paper readily available, so I began looking about and noticed that the provided checks were perfect for making tiny cranes, butterflies, a flying Pegasus and a host of insects.




I soon became engrossed in this art form and the rest of the afternoon unfolded in an eruption of small birds and animals. That night we went out to a Japanese restaurant and immersed ourselves in the ambiance and fine food. When presented with the bill, I wrote my last check, then folded it into an elegant crane. The waiter picked it up and gave me a long look, then after shrugging her shoulders, left us appearing a little confused and unraveled.




"I know that you must have had a reason to do that, but it is beyond me," stated my wife, Annette.




"Well, the bill ended up a little high and I didn't want the check to bounce," I patiently explained. "So I put wings on it so that it can fly instead."




Lance now leaves Origami folded tips in response to the tin foil swans used by high-end restaurants as doggie bags. Wing your comments to lance@journalist.com.