January 2.

Dear Freddy,

I know you haven't heard from me for some time. But I'm writing to ask you if you would attend a dinner in which I'm going to be honored as the Good Citizen of the Year at the Grand Milkwood Hotel on June 3rd.

I guess you've been wondering what happened to me since I stopped selling encyclopedias door to door in Bethesda. Well, believe it or not, I'm a hotshot banker in Maryland. I know what you're thinking. What do I know about banking after selling encyclopedias for the last ten years ?

It's a business just like any other business. People are always looking for bargains and if you can offer'em a better deal than the guy down the street, you've got a customer.

Banking is really a snap if you know anything about human nature. The trick is to have a solid-looking building with lots of marble, and a guard standing by the door with a gun on his hip, who looks real serious about protecting the customer's deposit.

Since I pay more interest than other banks in the area, the money just keeps pouring in. People are lining up in front of my window right now with paper bags full of currency.

I don't have any problems attracting deposits. My difficulty is figuring out how to spread it around. Heh, heh, heh. What I mean, Freddy, is if I'm paying 7 percent to the depositors I have to loan it out at 15 percent to make any money. Well, fortunately, there are a lot of people in America who are more than willing to pay above the going rate to borrow money. Most of them were turned down by the other banks for one silly reason or another.

These guys and dolls are the salt of the earth. They are real estate developers, commodities speculators, oil drillers, takeover artists, and horse-racing enthusiasts.

Besides the money I make on loans, my bank also invests with go-go securities firms in Florida and New Jersey. They pay us interest rates you wouldn't believe.

So you can see I've got a foolproof thing going. The depositors are getting rich, businessmen are getting their loans, and the bank is earning a huge return on its money.

The reason I'm being made Citizen of the Year is I have just bought new uniforms for the high school football band and the people of Milkwood don't know how to say thank you. Hope you can make it.

Best regards.


"I think I don't remember", Art Buchwald

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