I have always had difficulty reproducing my signature. Sometimes, this can create problems.
It was a warm day, lunchtime, in Spring 1982 when I walked to the local branch of my bank in the village, where I had just begun practising dentistry in north Kent. I needed some money. I wanted to cash a cheque to obtain ten Pounds.
I filled in one of my cheques, signed it, and handed it along with my bank card to the teller. She looked at the card and the cheque, and then said:
“I am sorry, sir, but your signatures do not match. Please re-sign your cheque.”
I did as was requested. But, the third signature differed significantly from the first two, which also looked unalike.
“Try again, Sir.”
My fourth attempt was yet another variation on a theme. The teller did not approve of it. By now, I was feeling both sweaty and slightly hypoglycaemic. I snatched my cheque and card and stormed out of the bank.
After returning to the dental practice, I calmed down. I still needed that £10. I rang the bank and asked to see the manager immediately. I was asked to return, which I did. On my arrival, the manager, dressed in a smart suit, was summoned to the counter. He said to me:
“How can I help you, sir?”
“I have just begun working as a dentist in the practice up the…”
Before I could finish, the manager invited me into his office. He offered me a chair, and then sat down. I explained what had happened earlier, and that I was concerned about having similar problems in the future as his branch was the most convenient bank to reach on my working days.
“Please give me the cheque, Mr Yamey.”
I handed him my cheque, which was covered with a selection of vaguely similar signatures.
“Please wait a moment,” the manager said, leaving the room.
A couple of minutes later, he returned and then handed me the cash.
I used that branch of the bank for the next eleven years and was never again asked to show my bank card when I wanted to cash a cheque. Such was the respect that the dental profession commanded several decades ago. Since then, I have simplified my signature so that I am able to reproduce it more or less reliably.