main moronic problem that most of us consumers have is that we
think we make more money than we actually do. This is a problem
that's even stupider than it sounds.
I'll admit that buying things is habit forming. Honestly,
I've never been a druggie or an alky, so I don't know what those
addictions are like, but I've been addicted to DVDs like nobody's
business. Let me tell you something, mister, those round, shiny
little discs are far more dangerous to today's society than some
goofballs that might "hep you up"! They'll go on sale
in legitimate places of business and scream at you whenever you
walk in the front doors, "Hey! Buddy! Check this out!
I'm only $14.99 today. But only today!! Buy me! Buy me
now! I know you didn't even see me in theaters, but trust
me, you want to own me! You need to own me! Pull out that
goddamn piece of plastic and pay for me or I'll KILL you!!"
But I digress.
With lots of love (mostly from my old landlord who threatened
to hand me over to the junior mafia for some tommygun shooting
practice if I didn't pay his fat Italian ass the 2 months of
back-rent I owed him), and attention (from my shrink who told
me to either sell my DVDs, or go into hiding in some non-bathing
European country where I wouldn't even be able to watch them
on their dumb PAL DVD players... kitten rapists), I got through
it. I now live a bland and boring life in which I work like a
drone 8-9 hours a day and then sit at home rolled up in the fetal
position all night, on the hard wood floors, while I think about
how free I am without any material goods to enslave me anymore.
Unfortunately, one of my old college roommates wasn't so lucky.
Tito (not his actual name, but a vast improvement over his real
nom de plume) was a stupid stupid man. He was always nice
and as happy as a midget in Hobbiton, but just not a very bright
midget. See, Tito got into debt his Sophomore year, and as far
as I know he never got out. It all started innocently enough.
He signed up for a credit card at the student center 'cause they
were giving out free T-shirts. But then he started buying crap
with it. He bought clothes, coffee makers, football phones, big
screen TVs, oodles of alcohol and lots of stuff that just wasted
his time and then faded into memory.
To show you what a chump he was (but a very nice chump), there
was one time that a $128 tab appeared on our phone bill to a
1-900 number. I knew that I wasn't idiotic enough to do something
that crap-in-a-hat-tastically stupid, so I turned to my roommate
who was sitting in his big, comfy chair, eating a bowl of Count
Chocula while watching Batman the Animated Series on TV
(I have a good memory, fuck off).
I said something like, "Tito, are you the dipshit who
called a 1-900 phone number for approximately 45 minutes three
weeks ago? If you are, then that better have been some hot-rrific
phone sex to last your memories for the rest of yo life, cause
I'm gunna have to castrate you, bizatch, and throw your nads
in the fireplace right now!"
To which he replied with a confused look on his face, "Huh?"
I jumped back at him with, "Huh?!?! HUH?!?! What the
hell you mean 'Huh'!?!?! There's a motherfuckin' $128 charge
on the phone bill for some goddamn 1-900 number! I know that
I sure as fuck didn't call it, and you be the only other mo fo
here... So what does that tell you?"
Tito was even more confused now because he was still trying
to figure out what "castrate" meant from my first rant.
But soon enough he slurped up the cocoa milk left in his bowl
after his meal was finished and gathered up his defense. "Yo,
Ross," he proudly said. "I never called no pay number.
I may have called some 1-800 numbers, but never no 1-900 shit."
Something just didn't add up, and the fact that Tito actually
knew the difference between a 1-800 and a 1-900 number stunned
me! Only kids older than 6 knew that, and Tito only had the brain
capacity of a 5 year old (but God bless him, he was a nice guy).
I actually thought I was going to have to explain the differences
to him. But before I could say anything more, a commercial for
(no fucking joke) Miss Cleo's Fortune Telling phone scam popped
up on the TV screen.
"I did call her," Tito blurted out when he
noticed the annoying ad. "But she told me it was free."
He looked even more discombobulated and hurt when he thought
that his friend, Miss Cleo, could have lied to him. The end of
the commercial came, and a 1-800 number flashed on the picture
tube with the words "Try it and your first 2 minutes are
Yes, after those first two minutes (which Tito told me they
kept him on hold for) they began charging the bejeezus
out of him after they switched him to their 1-900 line.
What the fuck was my point?.. Where was I going with this?....
I think my point is this: Because Tito was not ready for life,
or credit, in the real world, he had to drop out of school, move
back in with his mom (that poor poor woman who only wanted a
better life for her son than what she was dealt), and start a
dungy part time job to pay off his credit card bills, me (for
all the utilities he owed me), and the apartment complex for
his last 4 months of rent (which I thank the maker every night
before going to sleep that we had separate leases). Those last
four months that I spent alone in that apartment were constantly
filled with the ringing of phones and knocking on the door by
creditors and repo men trying to track poor Tito down. Sure,
I had his address and home phone number, but I wasn't about to
give it to those bloodthirsty leeches!... Not before he paid
me back anyway.
Are people just morons
over money, or does money make people morons? A question for
the ages, or for me. I say both. It's beyond the whole chicken
and the egg thing. One never preceded the other. There's always
been money (of some sort), and people have always been fart-sniffing
jack-offs. That's all there is to it.
Take for example
credit cards. People think that they basically mean "free
money". So they charge away and spend buttloads more than
they could ever possibly pay off in their dead-end jobs if they
worked them for 125 years with no lunch or bathroom breaks. Then
they wonder why they're blacklisted from buying a car or a nice
house, and why they have a couple of dozen men with briefcases
and dark suits staking out their homes, just waiting to whack
them over the head with a tire iron and take their wallet back
to their Master Cardiac leaders. I just described you,