GEMINI JIVE • The Hurry-Up-and-Bail-Me-Out-or-Else Blues

December 10, 2008

me-maskMaralyn Lois Polak   • Operation Itch Contributor        © 2008 ML Polak

I don’t know about you, but, like our formerly great nation, lately I’ve been experiencing a few horrific money problems of my own, too. Following the reported example of our president-elect, I’ve even developed a persistent facial twitch. Yes, I’m definitely concerned. Not only that, my stress level has escalated exponentially into overwhelm — every time the mailman comes, I get hives.

So I’ve been thinking. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if we could ALL get a Federal Bailout? Financial forgiveness for every American? I don’t mean just those Big-Butt Corporations or Fat-Cat Car-Makers. Bleep them! Where do you draw the line? I mean us, the everyday long-suffering citizens of this country. The workers and peasants! We’re the ones who need it. If not, all this fiscal-rescue stuff stinks. Heck, that’s not Socialism — it’s Favoritism– which is definitely Un-American!

 Otherwise, I’m sunk. Yes, indeed, my assets are sagging. Alas, economic necessity compelled me to sell off my tastefully small array of family gold and diamonds too soon, long before it was worth it. D-U-M-B! I’d love to repair my credit rating, but plastic’s interest rates are soaring, um, confiscatory, ahem, usurious, ah, Biblically evil. Factoring for inflation, my accumulated debt’s astronomical. Really alarming. Folks, I’m contemplating utter financial AND emotional ruin here. Even my favorite fluffy feline “Jojoba,” not his real name, has a lien placed against him. 

 Bewildering how I’ve descended to this drastically impecunious state. Unless it was all those glitzy vacations, glamorous fashions, lavish jewels, extravagant restaurants, fast cars, pricey box seats at major sporting events, massive counseling to overcome money guilt and, sigh, an seemingly unending array of gorgeous men, men, men. Yes, I admit it, I have, I mean, HAD, a weakness for Himbos.

Moreover, my champagne tastes are still, uh, my champagne tastes. They rage unabated and periodically must be slaked. Ordering screenwriting books at Overstock.Com may be a cheap thrill, but it’s just that, a cheap thrill. Nothing’s a substitute for LaPerla lingerie or Perugina chocolates. Sadly, my religious convictions prevent me from switching to pork rinds or pemmican.

How bad is it for me? Well, my credit rating’s taken a precipitous nosedive. If I had a 401-K, it would be obliterated. Ditto, if I owned any stocks, they’d be risking meltdown. If my house wasn’t already paid for, surely I’d be fighting off Foreclosure. Nevertheless, My DOW’s way down, congruent with my mood. Recession? Depression! My basic existential expenses like Broccoli Rabe, Radicchio Lettuce, extra-virgin Grapeseed Oil, Gerolsteiner’s bottled sparkling water, Metropolitan Bakery black-olive-and-thyme 20-Grain bread, Cauliflower Curry, Tofu Turmeric, Recycled Redwood Splinters paper towels, and windmill-generated electricity have instantaneously skyrocketed while businesses everywhere are slashing budgets and it’s the workers who make the real sacrifices. No wonder, with such vagaries of the marketplace, my own income’s suddenly gone South.

In short, I have this HUGE and way-annoying imbalance of payments. It’s totally beyond my control.  

My more solvent friends, all two of them, slink to the other side of the street if they see me coming. No longer am I invited to sophisticated salons and pleasurable enclaves where I formerly rubbed shoulders and other bodily parts with old money and new, hoping to borrow a few thousand bucks to tide me over until conditions improve.

Times like this, I think back fondly to the instructive plight of my former friend “Griscom,” certainly not his real name, who, despite gambling professionally for something of a living, suffered protracted fiscal dry spells, hence requiring him to depend on the kindness of friends and acquaintances or even outright strangers – not just to “stake” his games, but literally to keep him alive.

Yanno, somehow “Griscom” managed to rack up $53 thousand bucks (!) in personal loans from those generous folks in his life, and not all of that money from women he romanced, either. Gosh, whatta guy!

Now, having unsuccessfully tried the same ploy that worked so well for “Griscom” – YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE; COUGH IT UP! – all I can say in admiration of his economic extraction skills is, well, WOW.

Now, whenever I see Ben Bernanke on TV balefully proclaiming the newest federal interest adjustment, shaving a nano-point off here or there, breaking it to us gently like a candy-coated but disastrous medical diagnosis, I am CERTAIN he’s talking specifically and directly TO ME. And, no, I doubt that’s sufficient pathology to require its own category of mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

In fact, I have a further and even more daunting confession to make – I mean, besides insomnia-inducing worries about not having health insurance, like 47 million other Americans living on the edge, or being terrified of looming federally mandated deadlines decreeing instantaneous obsolescence of conventional TVs and light bulbs. What a boondoggle! To say nothing of a bonanza for that veritable branch of the gummint, Wal-Mart?

While a nearly unemployable and therefore entitlement-savvy female friend recommends a “no-doc” approach, which means, I think, an unsecured personal mortgage loan of vast magnitude, I’m just not quite certain what path would be most advantageous to take for now. I’m actually considering putting up my gargantuan deficit note for grabs and hoping if those flipping chumps from Congress doesn’t bail me out, then I’m hoping the Chinese, Kuwaitis or Saudis come to my aid. Do you think Nancy Pelosi would listen to my pleas over mint tea and dollar-store gingersnaps?

Who can predict what equity or punitive penalties these money people may someday attempt to extract from me in return for bailing me out, although I’m prepared to go the whole nine yards: bound feet, Chador, surrendering my right to vote for these idiots who got us in this predicament to begin with, abstaining from weekly visits to John Edwards’ hairdresser, no more Botox or Restylane treatments or at least a three-month moratorium, trading my Mercedes in for, well, a Cooper Mini, furloughing my chauffeur, canceling my Netflix account, you name it, anything to move forward productively and regain solvency so I no longer must continue counting out nickels and dimes from my personal Piggy Bank to pay for a paltry breakfast croissant from the French bakery.

Call me a Fiscal Slut, but I’d do almost ANYTHING for the right, um, refi.



ML Polak — it’s not a pen-name, it’s a real person! — is an award-winning Philadelphia-based journalist, screenwriter, essayist, novelist, editor, spoken-word artist, performance poet, workshop leader, lecturer, cat-and-dog companion, Reiki channel, and occasional radio personality. With architect Benjamin Nia, she completed a short documentary film about the threatened demolition of a historic neighborhood, “MY HOMETOWN: Preservation or Development?” on DVD. She is the author of several books including the collection of literary profiles, “The Writer as Celebrity: Intimate Interviews,” and her latest volume of poetry, “The Bologna Sandwich and Other Poems of LOVE and Indigestion.” Her books can be ordered by contacting her directly via email: Langwidge(at)aol.com                              

© Copyright 2008 ML Polak/All Rights Reserved. DO NOT reproduce or disseminate in ANY form via any medium under penalty of beheading. Yes, you can link to me. But that’s it. Contact author for syndication rates and tell your local newspaper editor they need to run this column before actual newspapers go extinct like the dodo, the auk, the bison, and real men.


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