Thursday, December 31st, 2009

The End of the 00s: The Debt Regret Matrix, by Jessanne Collins

S-KThere's something sort of patriotic about the fact that I'll be memorializing the aughts well into this brave new year with a sizable debt to Bank of America. Like our great nation, I spent the last ten years getting stung and overcompensating, acting indecisive and entitled, living way beyond my means. And now I am paying. With interest! My credit card statements are so textbook "Don't" they deserve a reality show: a trip to Japan for the wedding of a couple I'd never met; $500 worth of phone calls from what was supposed to be a budget trip to the Dominican Republic; shitty new Ikea furniture to replace shitty broken Ikea furniture; more late fees than I care to add up; more liquor than I care to admit. Oh hai, it's me! The girl Suze Orman warned you about.

But this is not a lament. I made my own bed (charged it, anyway) and, much like that requisite post-college upgrade from a secondhand futon to a brand-new mattress, I consider my credit history rather priceless. It's like a mathematical LiveJournal: a statement of my psyche (deep denial); an inventory of my twenties (job interview clothes); maybe even something of an anthropological artifact (Sleater-Kinney tickets!). Herewith, a dozen of the transactions that shaped or epitomized my decade, charted (logarithmically) into a Debt / Regret Matrix which plots their principal price tags against the emotional interest they've accumulated. So far.


Jessanne Collins has written for Salon, Radar, The New York Observer, and The Morning News.

5 Comments / Post A Comment

KarenUhOh (#19)

God. A photo of Corin Tucker. Give me your e-mail, and I'll pay for those One Beat Tour tickets.

brent_cox (#40)

The decade our sizable debts became cultural signifiers.

gawkimo (#762)

You should pump up the PPFA contribution regret. I worked there for a time under a certain Queen Bee's reign.

I remember one incident that made me realize that the PPFA is doing just fine — when Queen Bee (not the current head) once angrily called because somebody forgot to arrange a limo pickup at Dulles. (You'd think the head of an organization that professes to champion low income single moms could fucking take a cab.) Also, PP affiliates consistently complain that the PPFA has way too much control over funding for the affiliates that actually do the grunt work and some say it diverts donations from cash-strapped affiliates on the front-lines.*

Anyway, my experience at PPFA, which lasted about six months, taught me one thing about contributing to Planned Parenthood — contribute to affiliates in poor states, or locally. PP in a regressive shithole like Bumfuck Alabama needs the money. PPFA gets plenty of money from the rich and famous.

* NOTE: The PPFA does important work in public advocacy, my point is it's the many local affiliates that need the money and are actually catching the bullets and grief from the local Jesus freak wackadoodles. Also: the PPFA does provide plenty of support to the PP affiliates, but, again, rinky dink $25 donations are better served (and more appreciated) by the affiliates.

Sorry for the long digressive post; I just feel strongly about this.

Ralphie (#1,886)

Well you got a great deal on the abortion.

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