Tuesday, November 8, 2011

once you owe money, you don't own your soul

'now wait a darn minute,' i can hear you saying. 'that may be true for some people but not for me.' debt is like death, or the ten commandmants, everyone insists on an exception. 'we need money for college, to buy a house, to invest in stocks. money makes money.' hmm, that's not what i'm hearing from the newspapers and my friends. 

take an education, for example. students leaving school after five years twenty to forty thousand dollars in the hole. how long will it take to crawl out of it? what options have you surrendered, like back-packing around the the world or meditating in an ashram? ultimately, you become a conservative by virtue of your pact with the bank. you may demonstrate against the government out of frustration: 'i was too young. i didn't know. you evil folks wrote checks for me.' tell it to the judge.

or buying a house. yes, property changed humankind forever, and i think for the better, ie. it created individuality. no longer were you merely a tribal entitiy. and now i'll reveal the truth, my family in bondage the whole time i was growing up. yes, i remember my mother writing she couldn't even buy a candy bar, adding insult to injury since her family lost  their wealth in the great depression. we closed off rooms in winter, slept with hot bricks, bundled up in warm clothes. when my father exited the bus from the east where he'd applied for the army, he almost fainted, not having eaten in three days.

and when food in short supply, the kids fight over it, identifying it with love. we survived borrowing money from my uncle walter, the batchelor. in the end i paid a terribly price for it, my personality undergoing a complete change when i lived with him and alcoholic uncle luzerne. driven inward by the feeling i must conform to their wishes, all of us indebted to him, i couldn't fight back and psychologically knuckled under and succumbed. read the letters exchanged with my family at the time: www.pbase.com/wwp/son

yes, a faustian bargain feels good at the time, saying to yourself, 'i will never have to pay it back.'  alas, the truth quite otherwise. the sword of damocles may very well hang over your head for the rest of your life.