Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Stop Payment

In 2005 (when my only drug of choice was Jameson, I had only been arrested twice, and I and all my friends thought we were better at poker than we actually were), I had a hard time finding someone to be my roommate. I had a three bedroom house that I didn’t want, buried in a north Austin suburb that I couldn’t stand. I had bills looming over my head, and I no longer had a cushy overpaid job at Apple to solve my money issues. Then it hit me: what if I just stop paying all of it?

At my weekly poker game (I remember reality, I probably lost), I brought up that idea.
Me: So...what if you just don’t pay your mortgage?
Them: You’ll lose your house.
Me: Is that all? I don’t want it.
Them: You can’t not pay them. It’ll ruin your credit.
Me: What do I need credit for? I have a car. Bartenders take cash.
Them: But…
Me: Credit rating is a prison.
Them: You have to pay bills.
Me: Eh.

More research needed to be done. But I said “fuck that” and did what I wanted to do. I declared my cat. I said, “Kitty, we’re bankrupt.” She didn’t seem worried, so neither was I. I stopped paying everybody, and I squatted in my house for a couple of months. Once I started receiving really angry mail, I moved into a central Austin apartment and changed my phone number. I refrained from filling out that “change of address” form at the post office. The rest is very fuzzy and mostly nonexistent history.

I bring this up because I’ve recently done some research on those companies I stiffed. Here is the list:

Washington Mutual - I always wondered why it was so easy to refinance my $125,000 house twice in 2 years. After watching “The Big Short”, I said, “Oh.” I stuck these assholes with a termite-infested money pit filled with discarded furniture, belongings and broken dreams. They called themselves the “Wal-Mart of Banking,” owning the largest savings and loan association in the country...until it all went down in 2008.

Bank One - I inherited a credit card of theirs in my divorce, and maxed it out after funding a kick-ass weekend in New Orleans. I owed them about $12,000 according to the last invoice I read. A year earlier, Bank One was involved in a the actual company I screwed over was JPMorgan the same year they paid a $2.2 billion settlement to Enron investors and a $2 billion settlement for their part in the WorldCom accounting fraud. You should check out JPMorgan Chase on Wikipedia. The “Controversies” section is divided into 17 parts.

Wells Fargo - Hey, anyone read the news recently? They created 1.5 million checking/savings accounts and 500,000 credit cards that were never authorized by their customers. I opened a $6000 credit line with them in order to be able to pay Bank One and Washington Mutual. I have no idea what the interest was...I just knew there was zero interest on MY end, amiright? Huh? Ah, me.

Also, $350 to Time Warner Cable. Fuck Time Warner Cable.

I am not writing this in order to justify being a drunken deadbeat or to encourage similar behavior. I am not implying that I sabotaged my credit rating to subconsciously become a Wall Street freedom fighter (although that delusion sounds pretty rad). I am communicating all of this simply to say…

You’re welcome, America.