2013: A Student Loan Space Odyssey
2003-01-25 - 12:19 p.m.
What would you do, pray tell, if this happened to you?
I got a mysterious envelope from the Student Loan Company, an envelope that looked suspiciously similar to a bill. But I am not suppose to get bills from the Student Loan Company because they deduct money from me electronically--taking it to some invisible, unknown place.
Whatever it was, I hoped it wouldn�t require me to ask any questions. Unsurprisingly, when you try to call the Student Loan Company, you speak not with human beings but rather hear an alien-sounding computer voice telling you which buttons to push.
In fact, sometimes I think the Student Loan Company is indeed run by aliens, or by a Big Brother-like place that doesn�t really exist in this dimension: the white-coated people there are watching me through a big TV-like screen but I�m unable to see them. When I move, they know my new address.
The Student Loan Company is in charge of my biggest investment, and yet unlike the memorable, tangible, sit-down-and-haggle-with-the-salesman experience of buying a car, I have no memory of negotiating with--let alone seeing or speaking to-- the SLC people. (Can you say �alien abduction?�) One day after graduation they just started magically erasing $100 a month from my checking account.
It�s strange to have such an intimate connection with strangers: these invisible people have a claim on my life to the tune of $10,000.
...Or do they?
When I opened the envelope, the plain white paper said nothing but this:
CONGRATULATIONS, TORNADO ALI! You have paid your student loan in full. Please keep this notification as proof.
Customer Service Department
Now, in case you have not been to college--or if you did go to college but did not have to finance your future--please let me explain how serious a fuck-up the Space People have made. This is like being given a free brand-new car. I am supposed to be indentured to the Space Company until the science-fiction-sounding year of 2013.
My immediate, nonsensical thought was that maybe, like Demi Moore, I had been propositioned in that very ritzy Robert Redford way: like the upscale version of the old toothless dude down the bar who tells the bartender to send a drink your way.
But I don�t know any rich men, let alone any rich men who want to have sex with me-- not to mention rich men who want to have sex with me enough to pay off my student loans in full.
Then I worried it might be some overzealous parental Christmas gift: one that initially thrills me but then makes me feel guilty for its extravagance.
But there are no rich old men. And my parents are not writing $10,000 checks on a whim. The Space People simply fucked up.
And now I have to try to straighten this out with an automated computer voice on the telephone.
.... Or do I?
ONE FOR THE ROAD
I don�t know about you guys, but this guy is making me horny!