Tag Archives: economy

Confession Mondays: Debt victims

I don’t even know where to begin, Dick. For starters, the whole “victim” mentality is so not happening for me. That’s very 1980’s. Second, is that your metaphor of children swallowing toys is just not a very strong one. WE ARE NOT CHILDREN. Perhaps that’s the problem here. When we think of big old banks doing bad things TO us, and we imagine we have no control over what they do (i.e. dish out high risk debt) then, sure, we are all victims. We are enslaved. And yet, how is it that some of us aren’t victimized by banks while others are?

For the record, I am 40. I have existed in every tax-bracket imaginable. My father was a brilliant manipulator of the system and I saw how he used it to his advantage. I also saw how banks can fall a part when an individual takes control of his own credit and financial situation. Individuals have HUGE amounts of power that they don’t even realize. We are not victims, Dick. And when we stop thinking as victims we are able to change the paradigms that have us believing we are enslaved.

You seem like a smart guy. And I appreciate an intelligent, non-hostile discussion with you. But you’re idea of me being an extreme libertarian is way off. And your tale of people being punished for wanting to eat a good meal is too. I have had many good meals in my life. The best were paid in cash. And if I didn’t have the money, I ate at home. Simple mathematics.

I’m going out on a limb here and bringing in the possibility that this angst toward the debt crisis is due in part to people’s own shame at having let things get so out of control. As we try to keep up with the Joneses we see consumerism as more essential than good credit and we end up getting buried in debt. Once that happens, we look for any way out and we look for others to blame. Now that more people are recognizing the ugly side to banking and credit, the banks have suddenly become the perfect scapegoat for all our financial woes. It makes us feel better, mentally and emotionally, to know all this debt we’re buried under isn’t our “fault.” it’s someone else’s fault. We’re just a victim.

That kind of thinking is detrimental to the self AND to the economy as a whole because once we give up our responsibility to our own debt and put others in charge, we are susceptible to becoming victims. When we put others in charge, they do not make decisions based on our best interest but theirs. And on and on…

No one snowflake ever feels responsible for the avalanche. Maybe it’s time we start.

rock bottom

You have never, ever contemplated suicide. But today, the thought occurred to you that something has to be done to get rid of yourself–  there’s no option. It has to be done. But how? You don’t own a gun. You don’t even have aspirin in the cabinet. Most important, you love life! Screw, death, you say. You’ll leave the country. Problem solved.  With your kids, of course. Marrakesh, maybe. The south of France. You’ll leave word with close friends. Send for family. Cash in what little savings you have left and simply abscond. Traceless. You’re on your way to exotic lands…

But before you go, take inventory. You are currently “under the terrible burden of destiny…”

The moment you’d been waiting for arrived, or so you thought.  About a month ago. You dropped to your knees and held your hands up in surrender to the light and said, “I am finally here, Lord. Finally at the bottom!” What a relief. You thought for sure you had done it. Fatefully and systematically  arrived at the bottom. “Rock” bottom, that is. You were thrilled. You craved the bottom for a change. It was time to get spiritual. Time to raise the dead. This would be your chance to show the world that you were a survivor. You’d been so high on the hog for years that it was inevitable, simply a matter of numbers. And your number was up. You crashed right along with the economy.

  • Your lovely boy friend dumped you
  • Your favorite Uncle died
  • You had to pay twentyfivethousands dollars in taxes on money you earned but never saw.
  • You took a 75% cut in pay
  • Your fifth-grader started to suck big time in math
  • your ex husband refused to pay child support and wanted to make sandwiches every day for the boys instead.
  • You had a bad cold that lasted weeks

Could it get any worse than that? Surely not. 

But it did. Unbeknownst to you the very nature of “rock bottom” is that it’s an illusion. Just when you think you’ve hit, the ground turns Alice in Wonderland on you and falls out from underneath you. Surprise! You’ve got farther to go.

  • Oops, you forgot to calculate the oil bill into your expenses.
  • The IRS says you still owe EIGHTY grand in taxes.
  • G pulls his typical disappearing act, just when you thought it was safe to trust him again. 
  • The phone doesn’t ring
  • There’s a leak in the roof
  • Firewood is wet from the rain and it’s cold inside
  • Your kids are screaming for attention and ripping the house to shreds
  • You can’t afford your cleaning lady anymore
  • You didn’t tell the ex you were going away on business. You’ve ruined his plans. He calls you a selfish bitch and says, you’ll never change.
  • Your favorite person in the whole world doesn’t have the guts or perhaps the desire to email you
  • The prozac isn’t working
  • You gained five pounds eating left-over Halloween candy.

And if all that weren’t bad enough, you haven’t been able to rub one off in months…

When you’re at the bottom you begin to dream.

You need an escape of startling adventure. The Island of Santori perhaps. No, too touristy. The IRS would find you. What about Cozumel?  Same thing. Your only option is to live life like a bedouin lost in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. It’s a little colder than you expected, but you get to paint henna tattoos on your hands and feet and wear black. Your children can run around naked. And you don’t have to use toilet paper. Eating couscous all day could be a problem. But there’s always the bus to Tangiers or Casablanca where you can pick up American provisions. Peanut butter. Pancake mix. Spaghetti O’s. Advil.

Sure. You’re having a blast. Sure. You’ve managed to pick up the pieces of your shitty life. But occasional, dirty sex with nomadic tribesmen has stripped you of your dignity. You miss home. You miss your people. You miss spaghetti and meatballs on Sunday. You miss humidity. And the king-size, pillow top BeautyRest you slept on and loved even in your darkest days.

So you and the kids  pack up your bags, kiss the desert goodbye and go back to Jersey. Back to the turnpike and the mini-van and the crappy American bullshit and the bills and the ex. And you pay your dues to the IRS and feel a little better about yourself. You love life, remember? And so, rock bottom doesn’t seem so bad after all. Especially once you’ve have sex with men that smell like camels.