July 31, 2003

Credit Cards and Cheddar X

I've never been in debt. Okay, that's not entirely true. Yes, I've been in the kind of debt where I had to make car payments, and I'm currently in the kind of debt that says I have to make house payments.

I've never been in credit card debt, however. Truth be told, I've never even owned a credit card. I don't trust them. I've been conditioned not to trust them thanks to many years of living with college roommates.

Most of my college roommates had this weird outlook on credit cards. Basically, they thought credit cards were magical pieces of plastic that just magically paid for things and that they were somehow immune from the the ensuing debt that came about due to excessive credit card spending.

I'll admit it: I was sort of jealous of my roommates and their magical credit cards. After all, they always seemed to have money and, if they didn't, they just whipped out their credit cards. Books? Put them on the credit card. Food? Put it on the credit card. Night out at a strip club? credit card.

And yet there I was writing checks and budgeting like a fool. I remember thinking that I was doing everything all wrong. I mean, there I would sit, meticulously lording over my finances, while my roommates went waltzing all over town swiping their credit cards with the careless glee of a six-year-old with a loaded pistol.

Then, one year, I was a roommate with a guy named Chad. Chad was actually a former high school classmate of mine. He was, and is, a tech-head. He's one of those guys who was born to know technology. Way back in elementary school, he taught me how to write simple programs for the Apple IIc, and he always just seemed to know everything about computers.

But he didn't know shit about personal finances. He whipped out any one of his many credit cards with the swiftness and ease of a Old West gunslinger. By the time we became roommates, he had already accrued over $10,000 in credit card debt.

I remember thinking what an incredibly large amount of money that seemed to be, especially when I factored in the understanding that he also received financial aid, and that he also worked. Granted, he worked at the local Brach's candy factory on the Gummi Bear line, which paid about as well as you might imagine, but it was still money, so I came to the conclusion that old Chad was a pretty carefree spender.

Well, one day, I popped into Chad's outrageously messy room where I noticed, tucked between two huge bags of pilfered defective Gummi Bears, a credit card notice that was slugged "Urgent!" and another that was slugged "Immediate Payment Required" and still another that read "We Break Fingers And Toes."

Then the calls started coming in, usually two or three a day. "Is Mr. Haugen available? We really need to speak with him." No, he's not here. "Are you sure you're not really Mr. Haugen?" Yes, I'm sure. "Well, when he comes in, have him call Mike at Discover immediately." *sound of shotgun cocking* Will do.

Chad was masterful when it came to avoiding creditors. He always seemed to leave the apartment just two or three minutes before a creditor called. It was like he had some sort of sixth sense. Which was all fine and dandy, except that I ended up being the intermediary between Chad and the creditors, so I got to absorb all the impatient anger and suspicion of basically every credit card company on the planet.

It was the day a creditor appeared, in person, at our doorstep that I realized Chad's debt situation was probably more dire than Chad cared to admit. There was a knock at the door, I answered, and a gentleman in a suit that looked both impressive and threatening stood before me. He asked to see a Mr. Chad Haugen, at which point I heard a little scuffling emanating from Chad's room as Chad scurried out the back entrance which, conveniently, was located at the far end of his bedroom.

We chatted together, the ominous creditor and me, for about an hour, waiting for Chad to get home, even though, of course, there was no way in holy hell Chad was going to make an appearance while that guy was in our apartment. I even had to produce my ID, so the creditor was satisfied that I wasn't, in fact, Chad Haugen.

After that, I believe, Chad ended up getting a loan from his parents, or somebody, so he could pay off his credit card debt at least enough to keep the creditors at bay. He eventually got a job working at IBM, which was a long-assed commute from Winona to Rochester, but paid a whole lot more than the Gummi Bear line.

As for me, Chad's experience with credit cards pretty much scared me away from plastic for good.

1. What is people's greatest misconception about you?
Holy mangled grammar Batman! Okay, Yoda, let's clean that up just a tad before moving on. What is the biggest misconception people have about you? There, that be better. Let's see. I guess that, since I sport a shaved head and a goatee, and perpetual scowl made deeper by large eyebrows, people who don't know me think I'm a mean badass. Which I'm not. I'm a teddy bear. Granted, I'm a teddy bear with no verbal filter whatsoever, but I'm a teddy bear.

2. What is your most over used expression?
Probably, "Sticking a fat, gnarled toe into the vagina" of something. Okay, no, not really. I say "fuck-a-duck-a-ding-dong" a bit too much, actually, which is easy and fun to say, but it's a bitch to type (just look at all those dashes). I've also started agreeing with people by saying "Darn tootin' Rasputin," which makes no sense at all, but it just rolls off the tongue.

3. If they made a movie of your life, who would you want to play you and who do you think would end up playing you?
I'm thinking Vin Diesel. Nah, my life's too boring for that much of a physique. I'd need a more stringy looking actor with a shaved head and goatee, like maybe Luke Wilson with no hair. He has my eyebrows and my build, and he should really give them back to me right away. But, being that Hollywood would go and totally get my life all wrong on the big screen, I'm sure they'd go and pick some yokel like Corey Feldman. Corey who? Exactly.

4. If you could have sex with anyone, ever, who would it be?
If you know me at all, you know that I'm on a serious Salma Hayek kick right now. I would die a happy man if I suffered a heart attack while reaching orgasm with that Latina goddess straddling my wang. Salma, if you're reading this, and I know you are, please help fulfill my fantasy. And, if you could bring a briefcase of cash for me to spend, well, all the better.

5. What's the best and worst thing you've done for or to your appearance?
Shaving my head when I was 21 was the best thing I ever did, because it was a pre-emptive strike against the male pattern baldness that stalks my family like a follical grim reaper. When last I had hair, I had a respectable amount, and that's how I'll always remember it, rather than the melting retreat of the cranial ice caps that leaves so many ever-hopeful men crying in a sink full of hair. Worst thing? Can't really say, because I'm pretty conservative with my body: no tattoos, no piercings, no tongue splitting. Perhaps the worst thing I've done to my appearance is that I've done nothing at all. But, probably not.

6. What's your best physical trait? (yeah, yeah, shallow like the Friday Five on Prozac and Ritalin but I'm curious so there ya go)
Well, as you all know, I'm a smoking hot specimen of male hunkiness, which is a really great and rare trait to have. I've been told I have a cute butt, but seeing that my butt is not in my direct line of view, I can't really verify that. I guess I take a little bit of narcissistic pride in the fact that I'm thin and muscular in a lean sort of way. There's all that, and then of course there's my monstrous dong.

Posted by Ryan at July 31, 2003 09:55 AM
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