Somehow, while paying my bills — which takes so much longer than it would if I had more money — but I digress . . . I started thinking about debt and sexually transmitted diseases. Don’t ask me why. So, here, without further ado, is a list of how debt is like an STD.
1. You’d rather people not know about it.
Really, no one starts a date with reaching under the table to scratch and saying, “Sorry, but I really itch down there. It’s supposed to stop in a few days.”
“Can you pay if my card gets declined? I think I have enough left on this card, but if I don’t, they might confiscate it. But it’s probably cool.”
2. Both can, literally, drive you crazy.
Untreated Syphilis can lead to dementia.
Stress from debt can lead to depression, and even sometimes suicide.
Seriously, it’s not funny.
3. Both could have easily been avoided by a little self-control and pre-planning:
Don’t do it with anybody or everybody or buy anything or everything just because they are just sooo cute.
Use the available precautions, like stopping at the store to buy condoms before screwing, or checking your balance before swiping.
Ask a simple question, “How much is this?” or “What is that sore?”
4. Treatment can sometimes take a while
STDs may require a course of antibiotics, then retesting, sometimes a change in medications, and retesting, etc. Rinse, repeat.
It can takes weeks, months, or years to climb out of debt, one payment at a time. Pay, Rinse, repeat.
5. Both conditions require a period of abstinence.
Keep your pants on (and mouth closed) until further notice.
Keep your shopping cart empty and put your plastic away. Step away from the mall.
In other words, keep your ass home and offline and enjoy simple pursuits — like pain-free peeing and going to mailbox without breaking into a cold sweat.
6. You can get both from people you love.
You can make an informed decision to be intimate within a loving, monogamous, trusting relationship and SURPRISE! Your Bae has crabs!
You can, after careful consideration, co-sign on a loan with a trusted friend, lover, relative and SURPRISE your friend / lover relative never had the ability or intention to make the payments..
Bottom line: You can get screwed by your loved ones resulting in a rash or low credit score.
7. You can inherit both an STD and Debt.
Sadly, a baby can be born with an STD if the mother had one.
Sadly, a spouse can die and leave you with his or her debt.
8. STDs and Debt can force you to have uncomfortable conversations.
“Um, I tested positive for chlamydia and um, you should be tested too. Kthxbye.”
“Um, I didn’t make the payments and um, they took our car last night. I am so so sorry.”
9. I doesn’t matter how you got infected with an STD or fell into crippling debt,you have to do something about it or things could get uncomfortable, or downright ugly.
Antibiotics don’t judge. You might need them because you were a indiscriminate, stupid, dirty whore who decided that the open sores, puss, or little bugs on your lover you met in line at the clinic were cute, or, you could be a faithful husband or wife who got screwed (literally and figuratively) by your healthy looking spouse who happens to be infected with — something.
Same with debt. You might be in deep debt because you indulged a shoe fetish or like to hang out at the race track or casino, or, you could have gotten divorced, sick, fired, ripped off by a stranger or family, either way you have to do something about it to clear your record. Now.
I think that personal finance folks should back off the blame train and offer concrete ways to deal with a situation without too much talk about how you got there, because debt is like an STD, if you have it, you don’t like it, and you don’t want again. People are more likely to seek help or advice for lifestyle changes faster for personal credit card debt — or gonorrhea — if they don’t risk being reprimanded, scolded, or ridiculed for suffering from a condition they already do not enjoy. Sure, offer tips to avoid a repeat exposure, but do so with the assumption that the person doesn’t want to deal with this again.
Lesson has likely been learned once you experience that first itch or open sore in a private place, or get that first red letter in the mail.
Ignoring either problem can get ugly, trust me. Go ahead, Google Images for Syphillis, Gonorrhea, and Homelessness. I dare ya.
Just Me With . . . a debt comparison.
Please don’t congratulate me on my divorce becoming final . . . not today. I got that sheet of paper from my attorney back in February. I’m released from the bonds of matrimony. So . . . what?!!! I’m self-employed. To me, then, my divorce becoming final means that I now have to pick up the tab for my health insurance. It’s a pretty substantial monthly payment. So I’m not woo-hoo–ing on my new-found legal freedom. Perhaps in the long run, in the future, or in a galaxy far, far away, it will be good for me to break these financial ties . . . but now? . . . Now it means I’ve got to do the “find” dance. Find the money, find a way to earn more money, find a way to bring in more money by any means, find a way to spend less money — dance. Tired of that dance. And the damn kids continue to eat — every freakin’ day!!! Can I revert back to breastfeeding to free up some money so that I can keep going to the doctor? Guess not. Gotta find another way.
Part of me really wanted to have a woo-hoo, throw my hat up in the air like Mary Tyler Moore, Sex and the City Girlfriends night out kind of moment when the nasty divorce was finally final. But it turns out? (as Carrie would say) I don’t feel much like celebrating. Maybe if I were Amy Irving (Ex Mrs. Spielberg), or Linda Hamilton (Ex Mrs. James “Titanic” Cameron) or one of the Trump wives or Mrs. Tiger Woods . . . maybe then I’d be happy and could celebrate on my way to Rodeo Drive. But my divorce settlement only brings me freedom to pay another monthly bill, retroactively, to the date the Ex ran to his HR department to inform them of the final divorce decree that allowed him to cut off my benefits.
I delayed it, but today I log-on to transfer my car fund money (money I was saving to replace the 13-year-old car I currently drive) to my checking account so that I can make a huge payment just to bring my health insurance up to date. (I’m not even dealing with how I’m going to pay the monthly bill going forward.) Consequently, . . . I just don’t feel like woo-hoo-ing, and please don’t congratulate me on my divorce . . . not today, anyway.
Just Me With . . . my freedom and my checkbook.