Fun With Checks

Checks can't avoid being stupid. They don't have to be boring as well.

At this point in time, checks are a very stupid method of payment. For many years now, upon receiving a check, I’ve deposited it by taking a digital picture of it with my smartphone. At a bare minimum, the person sending me a physical paper check could instead have just emailed me a digital picture of the check. Far less ridiculously, though, we could just cut the entire paper part out of this.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that the internet exists, checks remain a relevant tool in the 21st century. Given that, we may as well at least have some fun with them. Fans of my on-an-extremely-long-hiatus podcast “Just The Tip1 may remember that my co-host Amy has some amazing personal checks. We call them pizza checks:

A personal check featuring a cartoon pizza chef in the upper left
It’s just so good.

Despite what her checks might imply, Amy does not own a pizzeria, nor even a chef’s toque.

After seeing this delightful nonsense, I knew I had to step up my own check game. When I needed new checks awhile back, I spent some time scanning through the images which could place in the upper left corner, where the pizza chef is seen above. There were many dull options like a stylized initial (“P”), but I was looking for something with comedic value.

The first thing I considered was this truly ancient computer:

Ancient PC check
The CRT really dates this.

The collegiate logos section offered me the possibility of having “Ball State” checks. At best, though, that was worth a juvenile chuckle:

Ball State Logo check
The logo ruins what’s already a very, very weak joke.

I also contemplated getting something goofy like a monster truck, which would surely appeal to all those 7-year-olds to whom I write checks:

Monster truck check
This is really pretty sweet.

Ultimately, though, I wanted to see if I could come up with something that wasn’t quite so derivative of Amy’s glorious pizza checks. It was in this pursuit that I stumbled upon the “Expressions” section of the check ordering website. Expressions are simple lines of text (and the occasional small image), offering up banal statements like “I ♥ Baseball”:

I love baseball check
I assume the actual physical checks would have higher quality printing than their terrible mockup does.

While I do enjoy baseball, my checks don’t need to advertise that fact. I’m also not interested in having my checks say “God Bless America”, “I’d Rather Be Gardening”, or “Save the Planet”. There were almost 250 different possibilities for an “Expression”, and they were almost uniformly terrible.

However, after much poking around, I stumbled on the “Miscellaneous” section. There, I found the single most ridiculous option I could imagine. As soon as I saw it, I knew I’d found my perfect check. I quickly finished my order, then set up a tent by the mailbox so I could camp out and wait for them to arrive.

Just a few days later, these beauties showed up:

A check that says ‘I need a hug’.

Yes friends, whether I’m filing my taxes with the IRS or paying a plumber, each and every check I send lets the world know that I need a hug.

I don’t know why this option exists. I don’t know who would order it with any degree of sincerity. What I do know is that these preposterous checks have now given me years of enjoyment. The thought of folks being utterly confused upon receiving one of these is a true source of joy each time I write a check. That joy has helped offset, if not eliminate, the annoyance at the fact that I’m still writing checks.


  1. The show’s not dead until one of us is. ↩︎