The O’Jays Are Calling

Today, Al asked for an explanation of credit cards and credit ratings. Mat said, “Oh, ask Emily. She’s a credit master.”

I am?

Somehow, I was able to expound on this topic for a good 3-4 vertical scrolls. Tell me, is it common to know the names of the three major credit bureaus off the top of your head? How is it that I can give a dissertation extolling the virtues of the American Express blue card versus the green card? When did I become the one who can explain the difference between a 30-year traditional mortgage and a 5-year ARM and all the pros and cons thereof?

I swear I used to suck at finances. Actually, that’s only partially true. Initially, I thought I was very responsible with my bills. Those pesky creditors were just so needy. Always wanting attention with their phone calls and their letters and their threats. Then I left the country for four months. And it was, like, they actually wanted money from me as if I were still around. Like, gag me with your collection agencies.

At some point it dawned on me that I wasn’t just playing Columbia House anymore. See, Columbia House will eventually give up after a dozen or so empty threats. Real companies don’t.

Finally, I met Mat. He had [gasp] savings. AND (get this) no debt! Like, where does he get off? It’s SO un-American. And here I’d been paying top dollar interest all this time like a good patriot. What a fool.

So I’ve been on this mission to get my credit cleaned up. In the process, I bought a house, started an IRA and began investing. What the fuck?! This is as bizarre to me as going to the wedding registry of my friend Marlo, the one who taught me how to inhale, only to find it chock full of wicker baskets and linen-lined hampers. Who is this Bizarro Emily and who stole my cheese? My brain cells used to soak up chemical compounds and now they absorb financial data.

The upside is that it gives me conversation fodder with Mat’s dad. He just lights up when I mention theories of personal economics regarding low-interest debt payment versus high-interest investing. And hot damn, when I did the taxes and came up with a major refund… uber brownie points with the future father-in-law.

Of course, the joke here is really on my mother. She’s very concerned about potential legal issues with my impending marriage due to the fact that our man of the cloth will be my father, soon to be ordained by the Internet. My moms is convinced that 20 years from now the government will up and decide to void all marriages consecrated by the Web and at that moment Mat will make his long-awaited break for it and I’ll be left penniless and weeping on the street.

Of course, what she doesn’t realize is that in 20 years, we will exist solely on the Internet and so I won’t be on the street but I will just be a lonely one without my zero bouncing around the electronic matrix of the universe. But all our earthly belongings will also be electronic so I’ll just keep a big magnet handy and then I can cash in.

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