I just had a brilliant idea for a story mash-up: Left Shark moves to Las Vegas to start over. His failed dancing career behind him, he’s decided to hook up with the mafia and become a “legitimate” businessman. I’m calling it “Left Loan Shark.” So much potential there—I’ve got to get to work on that. The idea is worth at least $250,000, right? I really need the money.
I got a call this morning from a very enthusiastic recording telling me that my business had been selected for a pre-approved loan of $250,000. How exciting is that? I considered pressing 1 to accept the offer for about a second. Then I hesitated. “Again, press 1 now,” the voice instructed me. I hung up. They’d probably expect me to pay that back at some point. That amount of money is like six years worth of income. If my writing career tanks, I’ll be screwed forever. Also, I don’t actually have a business.
Debt is such a weird concept. I owe faceless entities large sums of money that they don’t seem too concerned about me ever paying back. And I have a lot of it, mostly in the form of student loans. I’m waiting for the government to get that figured out. Seriously, student loan debt has got to be one of the few non-partisan issues we can put our collective heads together on. What is the problem? I have dreams that I can’t fulfill because of how much money is cost me to get an education. And look what I’m doing with it—writing ridiculous blogs and teaching 18 to 20-year-olds about BuzzFeed and Wikipedia.
In fairness, most of my debt came from my undergraduate degree. I managed to get through grad school without accruing too much more. Of course, the difference between $75,000 and $90,000 isn’t worth discussing for people who aren’t likely to pay off the smaller amount in their lifetimes. In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say. My only hope is that the government fixes the system. I’m boned.
Fortunately for me, my student loan repayment plan is income-based, which means two things. First, I will never have to pay more per month than what I can actually afford, and two, I will never pay off the debt. My monthly payment doesn’t even cover the interest that’s accruing. It’s a financially terrible system, but one I will be living with until such time as I realize the American Dream and become independently wealthy or the government pulls its proverbial head out of wherever it’s lodged. Since anyone who doesn’t think Ayn Rand was an economic genius knows that the American Dream is a gigantic myth and our government doesn’t care about poor people, we know that these things will probably never happen. Pulling myself up by my bootstraps sounds good but isn’t an actual financial practice.
So, as I pondered the idea of accruing $250,000 more debt from a random telemarketer, these thoughts raced through my head: How long could I get away with floating ten years’ worth of income as debt? Would I die before I had to pay it back, living a great life to a ripe old age in the meantime? Should I start a business to justify the loan? What would that business even be? Should I press 1 now?
In summation, Congress needs to stop reading Hillary’s email and solve student loan debt problem, and I love the idea of having actual straps on my boots. It seems ruggedly fashionable. Maybe I should start a boot strap business.