This weekend, while attempting to repay Commonwealth Edison for allowing my roommate and I to borrow a month's worth of electricity, I realized that I'd used the last of my personal checks to see "Avatar" in three dimensions at the IMAX on Navy Pier. In lieu of waiting twenty-seven hours for my neighborhood National City branch to unlock its doors, I took to cyberspace to replenish my check supply electronically. Much to my delight, I discovered that personal checks can, indeed, be quite personal.

Following my selection of a check that best suited my eye color, I was a mere finger twitch away from clicking the "Finalize Checkout" button when a pop-up box exploded onto my screen begging the question:

"Would you like to personalize any additional items before checking out, Mr. Lambert?"

Because the pop-up box asked so politely, I opted to peruse the "additional items" in question and, nary five minutes later, in addition to owning a new box of checks donning my mug, my electronic shopping cart contained an actual mug donning my mug.

As well as a baseball cap.

And a backpack.

And curtains.

And a car decal.

And a pillow cover.

Immediately after checking out, I cell-phoned my Mother to boast about my adorable acquisitions.

"Mom," I screeched excitedly into the phone, "you'll never guess what I just bought on the Internet!"

My Mom calmly listened to the rundown of my recent purchases before politely recommending that I "stop being such a jackass" with my money.

"I'm not being a jacka..." I started to reply before remembering the prize item in my spending spree.