My Time on Jail (May 17 2012)
This is a mad-capped, in-the-tradition-of-modern-art depiction of a notice I received from my bank, Wells Fargo, telling me that my account, through no fault of Wells Fargo, had, imagine, been inexplicably compromised, but through the bank’s humble, heroic and unremunerated efforts, no one was able to pilfer from me the $4.27 I keep in my checking account, so that I might feel secure. Wells Fargo went on to recommend that I sign up for a special such-and-such-a program they had, which they claimed would prevent my account from being compromised ever again, like the Titanic. I bit, wondering how they were going to chisel some money out of me on the deal. I, confused every three or four minutes, spent an hour or two judiciously filling out the form, and during this time, I learned that with submission of the form, I would receive reports on my credit ratings from three major companies, free of charge. This, I thought, might not be a good thing. I have always wanted a home in the country like everyone else, but I doubted that I would ever realize this coveted part of the American Dream. Yet, I bet again. I submitted the application. Weeks passed and I did not worry. Then the packet arrived in the trusted, trusty U.S. mail. I hesitated: Did I truly want to know what three U.S. credit companies thought about me, my personality and my financial dispositions? I bit—yet, yet—again, and I was not surprised. My ratings were, respectively, “Fair,” “Poor” and “Poor.” I did wonder why though. I had not been past due on a bill in over two years, and while dangling on to a credit card debt of $10,000 for more years than I care to report, I had miraculously gotten that balance down to zero, like, seven months earlier. I took a look, and again I was not surprised. The credit rating companies had things all screwed up. Two examples: 1) They said I had owed Comcast $65.43 for the past six months. This is a lie. I never miss my Comcast payments. Paying Comcast is a sadomasochistic ritual I perform each month. I suffer deliriously while I write the check, recalling how Comcast service has been abysmal, bleak, failed, futile—in fact, torturous—making everyone who has a Comcast account understand well why the Chinese will easily assume control of the world. Last time I talked with Comcast, they humbly conceded that they owed me $7.27. 2) The credit rating companies claimed I owed $780.02 to Sprint, a jolly contention. I have never had a Sprint account, nor do I know what Sprint is. It sounds like a race horse to me. And so on and on and on, but I have capitulated. I shall not spend the next two months trying to straighten out the slander of the credit rating companies. My reputation? Damned.
All this is all bad for my circulatory system. So I make art. Mad capped modern art. It is better for you than fish oil.
This is also a depiction of an old Banana Republic credit card statement which I keep around to chuckle at before I tuck myself in at night. The upright and forthcoming business people of the Banana Republic print the interest they charge somewhere on the statement, but they put it in a font which even an eagle needs a magnifying glass to read. More interesting: I think the Banana people were charging me something like 23 percent interest, and while I am no Perry Mason, this does not seem to me to be a righteous business practice. It seems to me to be common thievery, and with my head high in the clouds of poetry by Robert Burns and Delmore Schwartz and, and with my unstabilized emotions swirling in thoughts on paintings by Henri Matisse, I am easily dismissed as a quack lunatic. Still, I would say such practice is unethical, unfair, condemnable and pitiful, and I would say it should be punished by some good old-fashioned law. But who wants to punish Banana Republic, when our prisons, filled with people who smoke dope and crack cocaine and stick dirty needles in their arms, are already costing us too much?