Boston Public
Chapter Eleven

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Finkel me this, Finkel me that: "You look horrible."

The Hendricks-Lipschultz classroom. Harvey is looking at a laptop on his desk while Marla is dismissing the students. Harvey asks Marla if she's seen Cheryl Holt's website, and she says no. "You're on it," he says. She asks why. "You got an admirer. Kevin Riley. He wants to ask you out. But he's afraid you'll find him too white." She scoffs disbelievingly, which I guess is redundant. Hey, remember when Marla's character was on anti-depressants that rendered her unable to feel? Whatever happened to that aspect of her character? Now this show's all about who wants to date who. Oh god, it's Ally McBeal. Harvey is saying, "Don't sell yourself short, Marla. You've got a lot to offer. If I were forty years younger. And blind." She says, "If that's not the pot calling the kettle black…" And he continues their little vaudeville routine with, "Why do you have to make everything about race?" Anyway, Harvey shows Marla the animation in question. With the usual finesse, it depicts Kevin offering a heart-shaped candy box to Marla, while his own heart thumps away, and both the real and the cartoon Marlas are stunned.

Commercials. These commercials suck. It's Superbowl Sunday as I write this, and I'm waiting for the real commercials later on this afternoon, if you know what I mean.

We're back at the bank, and this time Harry has accompanied Lauren. As they wait for Not-Chad to return from lunch, she asks, "I don't know what you hope to accomplish, Harry." He says, "Probably nothing, but my cousin used to be a loan officer." And my cousin designs weapons for the Israeli army, but you don't see me giving people advice on how to build missiles.

Anyhow, Not-Chad comes back, with a little surprised, "Lauren. Hey." She introduces him to Harry, and Not-Chad says, "How do you do? Lawyer, or thumb-breaker?" Then he chuckles nervously, protecting his precious thumbs. Harry says, "Good one. No, actually, I have a account here, too. The Senate account? I'm sure you know it. I'm up to about nineteen hundred now." Lauren smiles at Harry's flippant remark. Good start, jackasses. Luckily, Not-Chad is trying to impress the new boyfriend by showing he has a sense of humor too, and says, "I think they refer to it in code here. Security reasons." Now Harry gets to the point, and says that his cousin the loan officer claims to sometimes have discretion on recommending loans, even when the debt-mortgage ratio isn't good. Not-Chad says that that's true, but explains, "In those situations where we do recommend risk loans, we look at the potential upside. That means the financial potential of the investor. She's a teacher. It's not like we'll be kicking ourselves, ooh, that one got away. She's scrimping now, and twenty years from now she'll still be scrimping. The last thing that I want to do is be recommending foreclosure on a former girlfriend, can you imagine?" Wow, what an asshole. I mean, presumably all of this is true, but he's putting it awfully bluntly, don't you think? Luckily, Harry is the Oscar Wilde of Winslow High, and fires back, "That she was your girlfriend? No." Lauren tries to tie the moorings of Harry's Indignant Hot-Air Balloon back to the ground, but it's too late, and he takes to the sky: "So basically what you're saying is you don't want the teachers." Not-Chad says, "Well, without actually saying that. These accounts aren't exactly the reason we open banks." Which is saying that, exactly. He's not good at subtlety, this banker fellow. Harry now decides it's time to yell to the entire bank, "Hear that, everybody? This bank doesn't want to give mortgage loans to teachers because they're basically never going to be rich, and what's the point of wasting money and service on them?" The other people in the bank look at Harry and at each other like, "I hope someone tackles and handcuffs the crazy man. Wait, isn't that the teacher who carries a gun?" Harry's still yelling: "You people all want better schools. Anyone have a way to accomplish that without teachers?" I'm not following his logic anymore. Whether or not teachers get mortgage loans doesn't really affect their abilities as teachers. Certainly the profession is rendered less attractive by a dearth of financial perks, but the kind of person who really desperately wants to own a luxury car isn't really the kind of person with the best interests of your children at heart. Which is a broad generalization, I realize, but the point is that people don't go into teaching for the money -- which, on some sort of karmic scale, does of course mean, ironically, that they deserve to be paid more for their work than people who go into professions specifically for money. But karma and capitalism are not always in harmony with one another.

Meanwhile, some sort of higher-up banking guy has approached Harry and asked if there's a problem. Harry keeps yelling, "Yes, actually, there's a big problem. Teachers in this country can't afford homes. Banks like this dismiss them as bad credit risks. Yeah, my problem is with you [Not-Chad]. And you [Higher-Up-Guy]. You know, she has never stiffed a debt. She's trustworthy. She may be your son's best chance of getting into college, leaving out your ability to bribe an admissions officer, and you won't help her. And it stinks. You stink. He stinks. This bank stinks. And I'm gonna take my nineteen hundred dollars out of here." During this speech, various other people in the bank gather. One has a big blue hard hat, indicating that he's a city worker of some kind, and what I guess might be an attempt to suggest solidarity between various underpaid people in the employ of the city…okay, I'm stretching, but I'm trying to figure out the purpose of all these random folks nodding in the background. I guess there is no purpose. Harry's parting shot, before leaving the bank, is to tell Higher-Up-Guy to promote Not-Chad to customer relations, because "I think he handled this quite well." I'm not sure what that means, because Harry basically just got up and started yelling. What was Not-Chad supposed to do, shoot him?

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Boston Public

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