Moneys and Credit...
Why We're All Fucking Idiots

Yes, it's true. We are complete fucking idiots when it comes to matters of money. Now, just to be clear I'm mainly talking about my fellow American countrymen/women, but I'm pretty sure the same can be said of the peoples of any free trade country that allows its citizens to buy shit. We, as humans, get caught up in the "gotta buy it all!" syndrome that makes the rest of the animal kingdom both pity and mock us behind our backs.

What is it that makes us drooling idiots when it comes to numbers with dollar signs in front of them? How and why did my old college roommate build up a bad credit report big enough to choke a walrus who has a taste for three-way porn? How did I (me, the Rossman) almost fall into the trap of having to eat three meals a day at the local soup kitchen? Mainly, because we're all complete dumbasses, but I think I have a better and more involved theory that I'd like to share with you, along with possibly a solution (I'll let you in on it if you pay me a buck). I'll get to that stuff in a moment, but first I'd like to discuss the problem and the problems caused by the problem in a bit more detail so that my findings seem a bit more thought out when you finally hear them.

I'll remember LarryTo the left is my old friend, Larry the Pot Smoker. Boy, Larry's sure hit some hard times since the last time we saw him, huh?

Now, this is not a "this is what happens if you do drugs" kind of thing. Even if Larry wasn't a total dick-scrubbing pot head he'd still be out on the streets right now begging for scrotum to massage for a few pennies.

The message that I want you to walk away with here is that you don't want to piddle your hard earned (or stolen) money away on pizza, beer, pot, video games, Hostess Ding-Dongs, and cheap whores. You only wind up in the gutter with one or two of those things at the most.

Larry messed up. He just spent, spent, spent, spent, spent... Without any thought that his mad cash flow might dry up. The main problem with his never ending spending spree is that he never really even had a "mad cash flow" to begin with. It was mostly just his mom sending him some mullah for school... which he dropped out of seven years ago. When she went broke herself she was forced to marry some guy who made a living making natural fly paper (don't ask), and he refused to give one more cent to her son. Since Larry didn't know how to do anything more than smoke pot and urinate himself, he hit the streets with a dream! A dream so big that within a year he would be a megamillionaire with money and STDs to burn!... A "urination shoeshine stand where the customer can buy and smoke some weed while they're being serviced." If only that large, hairy homeless guy didn't rape Larry the first week he was living under that park bench. That incident scarred the poor asshole for the rest of his life and now he can't recall anything more than "Penis bad," and "White stuff burn eyes!!"

Don't be like Larry. Spend within your means... At least I think that's what I wanted to say.

The 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 free!"

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?.... Shit.

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.

Number one with a bulletAre 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, didn't I.

Go to Page TWO to see how to get out of the poorhouse >