For the last couple of years I’ve done that crazy thing where you pay your bills on time and spend your extra money paying off debt. I think they call it living a fiscally responsible adulthood. I started down the path going, “If I keep this up, eventually I’ll be all debt free and be able to spend all that debt paying money on awesome things like jetpacks!”
There is a dark, seedy underbelly to being a responsible adult that no one warned you about, and that’s called having an excellent credit score. I know what you’re thinking, “Matt, how could having a great credit score possibly be a bad thing, aren’t we always told our entire lives that great credit is the ultimate goal which all Americans work for, and is directly proportionate to how happy and successful we are in life?”
I know that’s how it is supposed to work, and I was really proud of my credit score when I went out to buy my new car. In the list of my top five proudest moments in my life, I was able to get a brand new car, a low-interest rate, and rebates that almost paid off how far upside down I was in the horrible jeep… without a co-signer. It was pretty much the first time in my life I’d ever been able to get anything without my parents going, “We’ll make sure he pays for it, or we’ll stab him with a soldering iron.”
That was an awesome day that just served to re-enforce the idea that all that hard work was making a huge difference in my life, and it was only a matter of months before I’d be sailing across the sky mocking the land bound mortals below me. What I didn’t see coming was the other side of good credit.
For some reason, when you’ve proven to the credit people that they can trust you with money, the keep offering it to you…. constantly… five or six times a day. I’m not joking. I’ve built my credit score up to a respectable level, and that means every day I get bombarded with at least a half-dozen credit card or instant cash short-term loan offers. I’m a natural-born worrier, and on occasion I get mail for the people who live a street down from me. Here in my subdivision we have one of those mailboxes made of 16 mailboxes all welded together. We take their mail down to them and strangely they never seem to have mail for me.
I suppose I might just be a worrier, but to me that’s a recipe for getting my identity stolen. I spend a lot of time worrying about someone stealing all my hard work and buying my jetpack out from under me. I did however sign up for an identity protection thingy, though, because hackers are everywhere, and they are evil.
That isn’t the only down side though. It actually almost makes me feel excited that someone might have a reason to want to pretend to be me besides getting me in trouble with my landlady. What is really starting to scare me, is that apparently, if you keep paying your credit card off each month, they get this crazy idea that you need more credit.
I don’t think there has ever been a point in my life where I have thought to myself, “You know what I need more of? Someone else’s money that I have to pay back at a high interest rate.”
I can’t seem to convince them of that though. It’s like every six months they just say, “Hey Matt, we know you want a jetpack, so instead of saving for it, why don’t you just go ahead and use this big pile of my money to buy that, and you’ll just owe us.”
Each time they do it, they make that big pile of money a bit bigger and the part of me that has extremely poor impulse control goes into fits about how many tacos that can get.
I’m not going to lie, my subconscious counts currency almost exclusively in the cash-to-taco exchange rate.
So far I’ve satiated my self by saying that that number getting bigger just means I’m scoring more points in the game of life. I mean, if I learned anything about life, it’s that you win by having the most money when your station wagon pulls up to the old-folks’ home.
It’s only a matter of time, though, until I’m laying on the floor of my living room, covered in an enormous pile of tacos and sobbing to myself about how the deal was just too good.
Just too good.
Damn, now I want some tacos.