You think you’ve got it bad during the pandemic? Imagine being a bank teller

If you don’t enjoy a root beer Dum Dum lollipop, I’m not sure we can be friends.

Typed by friendly neighborhood paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney in Des Moines, Iowa.

Do you know who must be especially freaked out these days?
I mean besides everyone.
Bank tellers.
Bank tellers have to be on edge unlike anyone else in the middle of the pandemic.

You spend your whole career thinking that if someone comes into the bank wearing a mask, there’s probably going to be trouble.

Hit the alarm.

Call the cops.

Get the ink bomb ready for the getaway bag.

But in the pandemic?

Somebody comes into the bank without a mask and that’s trouble.

You’ve got to ask them to put a mask on.

Then you’ve got to tell them to put a mask on.

Pretty soon you’re yelling at them to put a mask on.

Sir? Sir! Masks are required in the bank!

And you know what?

Getting a guy to put a mask on could go either way.

It’s not like a bank robbery.

Most bank robberies are boring.

Guy walks up to the teller, hands them a note and they run out with as much cash as they can get from a drawer.

The other customers don’t even know what happened.

But today, a guy not wearing a mask could go either way.

The sensible people, of which there are precious few, will be like, “Oh, of course. My bad. I took it off in the car to eat a delicious burger and fries from that new place downtown. I’ll just slide the mask right on up. Sorry.”

But there seems to be an equal chance, perhaps greater than equal, that the teller asks a guy to wear a mask and they start screaming like William Wallace in “Braveheart.”

COVID-19 may take our lives, but they’ll never take our FREEDOM!”

As an aside, when you think of it, what a stupid thing to say.

Once they’ve taken your life, you have no freedom.

You’re dead.

Dead people have no rights.

They can’t even move.

They’re just decomposing in a box, crypt or urn somewhere.

They can’t vote.

They can’t engage in policy discussion.

They can’t even tweet.

Anyway, the anti-mask guy at the back of the bank starts shouting about FREEDOM and TYRANNY and HOAX.

And the clerk is like, “Look, I’ve got asthma, all right? COVID-19 would hit me pretty hard. Could you just wear a mask, sir?”

And this guy starts going off about he’s got a medical condition that prevents him from breathing with a mask on.

He can’t name the condition.

He has no medical documentation.

It can’t be anything with the lungs, because he can yell like a snowplow mom after her kid gets an A- in art.

Anyway, there’s cries of freedom.

Cops get involved.

There’s a lot of drama.

People record it on their mobile phones for their TikTok and Instagram.

And the teller probably has to fill out more paperwork.

They thought this would be a good job.

Count out money for customers.

Take deposits.

Traveler’s checks, back in the day.

Give a Dum Dum lollipop to kids who come in with their parents.

You saw a guy with a mask, you hit the silent alarm.

Now, you see a guy with a mask, you end up in a political debate.

Everything’s a big damn hassle.

It’s why four out of five bank tellers use the ATM.

Daniel P. Finney believes his country must come to a compromise. There has to be room for both the “Tastes Great” and “Less Filling” factions. is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I continue writing while I pursue my master’s degree and teacher certification. The new semester starts soon. All donations are greatly appreciated. Visit

HOT SHEET: Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat … or I’ll give you COVID-19

Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighborhood Station, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM ONE: Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie gleefully announced Des Moines will celebrate Beggars’ Night on Oct. 30 with masks (not just the costume kind) required and social distancing protocols active.

Mr. Mayor, can you give the public some idea of what your plan is to contain COVID-19 in the capital? You didn’t issue a mandatory mask order until late August, long after the businesses shuttered and reopened and people started working from home.

Now cases are on the rise in Polk County and you tell everyone, “Hey, take the kids out and collect candy from homes of strangers during the pandemic.”

The typist agrees that the loss of Halloween celebrations would be sad. Children only get so many Halloweens before they graduate from cute kids to just drunk fools in slutty costumes on Court Avenue. Still, having trick-or-treat in the pandemic with cases on the rise seems outright stupid and a little bit mean.

How many of our seniors who would normally welcome children to their doorsteps will have to keep their lights off because they are more at-risk for death from coronavirus?

How many cases of coronavirus will this public-pleasing move create because we all know despite the best efforts of parents, kids don’t always wash their hands well?

ITEM TWO: The Hot Sheet wouldn’t mind a year moratorium on Beggars’ Night because of the pathetic state of riddle and joke telling by our community’s children.

The typist has heard all the whimpering about how children get nervous and the tell a joke to get candy tradition is dumb or that they didn’t do it in the awesome city they used to live in before they moved here to be boring white people.

Bugger off, the ol’ Paragraph Stacker says.

It is not too much to ask a child age 5 or older to memorize two sentences of a G-rated riddle or pun in exchange for candy.

Instead of going out this year, go buy a couple bags of Laffy Taffy and just learn one of the jokes on the wrappers for next year.

ITEM THREE: The typist admits when he’s wrong and he was wrong about ESPN Sports Center super host Scott Van Pelt. When the sports network named him their lead host a few years back, I thought it was foolhardy. I probably tweeted something rude. But you know what? The ol’ Paragraph Stacker’s night isn’t quite the same without a visit from SVP. Thanks for making the pandemic brighter, sir.

ITEM FOUR: I’m just throwing this out there: Bring back Max Headroom. He’d be instantly better than all the current late-night babblers. Think about it.

ITEM FIVE: If not Max Headroom, what about Space Ghost? His Coast to Coast show was a winner for [adult swim]?

ITEM LAST: The typist is too tired to come up with a joke here.

Daniel P. Finney fell asleep three times writing this caption. is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I continue writing while I pursue my master’s degree and teacher certification. Visit

HOT SHEET: Mystery of Grandma Margaret solved, we know when Reynolds will endorse masks, and the singularity looms in new Netflix doc

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighborhood Station, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM ONE: In a Hot Sheet Investigative Report Exclusive, the mystery of Grandma Margaret is solved. Earlier this week, the typist’s grandmother, Lois Newcomb, died at 92. The ol’ Paragraph Stacker was surprised to learn from her obituary that Lois’ first name was really Margaret. The typist has been a part of Lois’ family for nearly 30 years and this never came up. Mom 2.0, the kindly east Des Moines hairdresser who raised the typist after his parents died, broke the story: Lois Newcomb was born the daughter of Clarence and Marjorie Tyrrel in November 1927. Clarence declared that his daughter would be called Lois because, “If we call her Margaret, somebody is going to start calling her ‘Maggie’ and I don’t want a daughter named ‘Maggie.’”

ITEM TWO: Many of us sing in the shower, but how many of us practice choir in the pool? COVID-19 put the kibosh on indoor choir practice for teacher Mark Potvin and his Luther College vocalists at one of the nation’s largest vocal music colleges. Potvin spotted the city pool being drained for the winter, secured permission from city offical’s and KCRG-TV reports Luther’s five choirs now rehearse off the deep end.

ITEM THREE: Gov. Kim Reynolds refuses to issue a statewide mask order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 despite recommendations from the White House, where her pal President Donald Trump lives, reports WOI-TV. Nearly half of the more than 1,200 Iowans who have died from COVID-19 lived in nursing homes. A public mask mandate could help slow the outbreak, but about the only time Reynolds will be willing to order mask wearing is on Beggars’ Night and Halloween — which will likely be cancelled because of the virus.

ITEM FOUR: Hot Sheet recommends they Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma.” The feature includes voices from a slew of former engineers and executives from Google, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest all with a paranoia-inducing message: Social media “uses your own psychology against you,” as one engineer put it, and has the power to shred not only the American democracy, but the fabric of society. “Fake news” makes money and there’s no market for the truth. Nobody trusts anybody. It’s as bleak a movie I’ve seen since “The Road” with the added terror that it is happening in real-time before our eyes. The most horrifying stat: Computing power doubles every two two years, but the human brain has not evolved at all.”

ITEM FIVE: Krause Group, owners of the $2.8-billion Kum & Go gas and convenience store chain, added the controlling interest of an Italian soccer team, Forbes reports. Iowa’s soccer super fan Kyle Krause, CEO of the company that bears his name, bought 90% interest in Parma Calcio 1913, a lower division Italian team valued at about $100 million. Krause owns the Des Moines Menace soccer team and has backed soccer for youth and adults in Iowa and beyond for decades. He promoted a USL Championship team to Des Moines and build a stadium downtown. Krause, who of Italian decent on his mother’s side of the family, owns a home in Italy about two hours away from Parma. The typist is not a big soccer fan, but his bemused by the idea of Parma players running about the pitch with Kum & Go emblazoned on their chest in maroon and white.

ITEM LAST: The typist is no longer a gambling man, but if he were, he wouldn’t take Iowa State this Saturday. For one thing, they’re not playing and for another, they’ll probably find a way to screw that up, too.

OK. We can close the book on this one. Donate if you can. It really helps. As always, behave and be kind.

Daniel P. Finney shops at Thornton Melon’s Tall and Fat Store.

Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way telling stories about his city, state and nation. No more metrics or Google trends, he writes stories about people and life ignored by the oligarchy. is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I launch this new venture continuing the journalism you’ve demanded. Visit