Photo by Andrea De Santis on Unsplash

Life on Planet AL

We create our own history. I turned 70 in December 2023. Almost three quarters of a century. During that time, I’ve experienced life in my own unique fashion. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea but it’s my cup of tea and I’m okay drinking it cold.

The other day I got to thinking about what I’ve experienced during those seventy years. Would anyone be interested in those years? Hope so ‘cuz I’m gonna share those seventy years of life with you. Or at least my version of life here on Planet AL. I will say to those who’ve also been on the planet as long as I or even longer, I’m not in anyway saying my life was/is unique. As a matter of fact, I think it’s been rather ordinary…but as I look back, did I mention that I just turned 70, I saw some fun, weird, and “you had to be there” instances that are different, but mine.

Quick side note on the title. I felt that capitalizing the L removed any confusion over it being an l or an I. It’s not AI, it’s Al.

A funny story surrounds that particular confusion. As a bank teller I helped many people over the almost twenty years of customer service dealing with other people’s money. Loved the people, the work environment, and the benefits, disliked the policy changes but that’s not what this story is about.

An elderly woman—it was almost twenty years ago and unfortunately, I don’t recall her name. Let’s call her Mary—would come into the bank and do her banking. We would chat and of course after helping her a few times she would wait for me if she could. Finally, one day, after a month or two of our interactions, we chatted while I did her banking and then she walked out. A minute later I heard the door open, looked up (customer service baby!) and it was Mary returning. Opps did I do something wrong? Hope not.

Her timid approach caught my attention, she blurted out, “I’m sorry but is your name A I?” We had name plates with our names inscribed on them. Mine said Al. That’s upper-case “A” and lower case “l”. It took me a minute to realize why she was confused.

I chuckled. “No, it’s Al. That’s okay I can see how it’s confusing.”

“Oh no I’m so sorry.” She was embarrassed and I felt bad for her. It was an easily made mistake. The name plaque lettering was confusing. I told her that she shouldn’t feel bad. But I thought it was funny. I joked she could call me whatever she wanted just don’t call me late for dinner. We had a good laugh and she left happy now knowing my name. And I was happy to make a connection with a customer (customer service baby!).

Fast forward to the next time Mary did her banking. She waited to come to my window.

She smiled a greeting. “Hi Ai.”

I couldn’t help myself, I burst out a chortle. Yes, I snorted. Good thing I wasn’t drinking root beer otherwise I’d have had a cleaning bill coming my way. As it was, I grabbed a tissue. Didn’t want any stray…ahem…boogers defiling the moment. (insert winky face emoji here)

“That’s a good one, Mary. You got me.” After that day she always called me Ai. It was our little joke. Unfortunately, she passed away a few months after that. But these days when ever someone says Ai I think of Mary.

So, I hope you’re still here. The story I just told is one memory from my seventy years here on Planet Earth(Al). I’ve got a few fun stories, a few weird ones, and a few historical happenings that I experienced firsthand. To the best of my recollection that is.

Now for a disclaimer. Any story I tell here is based on MY MEMORY. It may differ, in the sense of recorded history, from what actually happened. It’s my seventy-year-old memory and I plan on talking about events that happened sixty, seventy years ago that pertain to my life. These observations are based on my experiences. And, more importantly, my memory. Which FYI has been proven to remember selectively and/or 100% positive something happened (and was completely 100% wrong) but how is that any different than anyone else?

It isn’t. As earthlings we all write our own history. I’m here to write the story of my history on Planet Al. I can only hope you come along for the ride.

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