Debt

Debt: (n) something that is owed or that one is bound to pay to or perform for another

I am trying to determine if I remember if there was any measurable amount of sincerity in me at all.

I’m talking about that first moment, when I was nineteen years old and sat down in a car dealership to buy a five-hundred-dollar, old, beat-up van that formerly was used by the telephone company.

I was so anxious to get this vehicle that I probably would have sacrificed four days in heaven.

I know there was a salesman who was explaining payments, rates of interest—and also that the green-monster-wagon was being sold “As Is.”

I vaguely recall seeing his lips move as my glazed eyes peered over his shoulder at the prize.

I think maybe I was somewhat aware that since I put no money down, that my payments were going to be sixty dollars or so a month for the next year-and-a-half.

Yet I cannot swear to you that any awareness of these factors was actually registered by me, but instead, were later thrown up to me by the collection agency when it taunted me about my promise to make monthly payments.

I think there was a part of me that really thought I was going to try to make good on the debt.

I don’t know how.

I had no visible income.

I was negotiating my quarters and nickels to buy a pound of bologna a day with a loaf of bread and an apple.

I drove fifteen miles every other day to get free day-old doughnuts from my buddy who worked at the “Dunkin’ Something-or-Other.”

But there must have been some little piece of hopeful legitimacy that envisioned sixty dollars being made available for a monthly installment—even if I believed that a bird was going to fly it in from the Bank of Heaven.

Of course, it’s also possible that I was just an irresponsible teenager who couldn’t look beyond the temptation and couldn’t care less about my responsibilities.

Yet I sure do like that bird idea.

 

Clause

Clause: (n) a stipulation

Recently, I had a new grandson born. Everyone was so excited. After all, it’s a new life.

The proclamation was, “Welcome to Earth, little Julius!”

But Julius, my dear little friend, you need to read the accompanying clause. The actuary tables tell us the average person lives about seventy-seven years. Let’s
break that down:

The first eighteen of those seventy years are spent living in a house under rules and regulations, taking orders from everyone over twenty-one years of age, dabbling with all sorts of shit you shouldn’t, and confused because the front part of your brain literally has not grown in.

The next twelve years leading up to the age of thirty, you find yourself on the hunt for education, occupation and romantic elevation. There is too much experimentation, frustration and degradation involved in that process. You will often be bewildered because your original elation over obtaining your freedom has been deflated by reality.

Then you reach your thirtieth birthday–a whirlwind of messy nastiness, some of which you’re already trying to pay off in installments.

Now it’s time to have some kids of your own. You decide on two, and end up with three because someone forgot something. These three children begin the life process, impudently resenting all authority figures over the age of twenty-one, primarily you and your mate. They possess more opinions than intelligence.

You feel love but also occasionally diminished–because what you planned to do with your life has been hijacked by others telling you that you’re already old, decrepit and dead, and it’s their turn.

This takes you to about age fifty. At this point, you are greeted by doctors. They tell you that everything you’ve done in the first five decades has created some unhealthy results in your body. Probes, operations and sometimes diseases kick in to remind you of your mortality.

You suddenly find yourself carrying a pill case. You try to make it unobtrusive or even decorative, but you are now hooked on meds for the rest of your life.

This takes you to seventy. Of course, in the meantime you’ve become a full-fledged grandpa or grandma–with more little children who have found even meaner, egregious ways to ignore you. They are instructed to hug you, kiss you and send you thank-you notes including unidentifiable pictures which they’ve drawn. You learn to acquiesce and call three lines scrawled on a piece of paper “great art.”

This leaves you seven years.

You can’t walk as well anymore. You have to stop to recall your password for your Facebook account. And when you look in the mirror there seems to be the face of a troll emerging from your countenance.

The purpose of this essay is to remind us all that life comes with a clause. It’s a simple one. It’s not even in fine print.

Welcome to Earth (where you better make sure you enjoy what you do, or else what you do will take away all your joy–and that’s for sure).

 

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