April 8th, 2006

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Something To Get Off My Chest

Personal stuff.

I don't like to talk about that stuff. It's my business, nobody else's. I don't want pity, I don't want understanding. I've got the deal with it, and I have, mostly, but not completely.

I guess talking about it would help me get over it. Not having to ever deal with my dad again would help me get over it more but unemployed and distracted half the week with my nephews makes that harder.

It all started when I was still going to college. Oh, I'm a college drop-out, for reasons that should be clear as this progresses. One thing college students receive a lot is credit card offers. And I did. Most of them I ignored, because I was a scholarship kid, as well as some financial aid, and had no job, and how was I gonna be able to pay off a credit card?

"I'll help," said my father. I thought about it a bit, and then accepted. This, in hindsight, has become known as Mistake #1.

As terms of the deal I struck with my father, he would make a few purchases and pay them off, to build up my credit rating, so that when I got a job and could take over the card, I would have an easier time getting financing for things like a car and such. For this to be done, he had to be a co-signatory on the card. This, in hindsight, became known as Mistake #2.

Strange things began happening. I would, every two or three months, get a phone call confirming a purchase. It wasn't me making the purchase, it was my dad, so I would hand the phone over to him and he would deal with it. Not getting involved with the process: this was to become Mistake #3. The calls got more frequent, and my father--who had been driving me to and from college--began hinting ("threatening" is too strong a term for what he was doing) that he should start charging me gas money. We didn't live in the city, we lived about 20-25 minutes away from the school, and five days of that and a few other errands around town would require him to fill up every third day. These sorts of things began distracting me, and I stopped studying as much as I should, and I failed several classes, and lost my scholarship and was disqualified for financial aid, and dropped out.

The calls stopped. I stopped thinking about my dad's access to the credit card he'd been using in my name, since I never actually had it in my wallet, and it wasn't a factor in my life, I thought. Years passed. I got a semi-regular seasonal job, and made a contact who got me a steadier job at a movie theater. I wasn't making lots of money, but enough for a few expenses here and there each month.

And then I got a letter. A letter from the credit card company demanding payment--minimum balance of around $1200, plus late fees (I think the interest was included, but it's actually been a couple years and I don't have the letters with me anymore. I was confused. I called the number on the letter to find out . . . I was apparently in debt to them for almost $18,000.

I confronted my father about it, and he claimed that it was my debt now, because I had a job.

Fuck no, asshole!. That was not what we agreed, and anyway: $18,000! Without even giving me a heads-up that that's what you were doing?

You don't screw people over for $18,000. If I was in the mob, I would break your legs. There was no way I would make enough money to pay that back working at the theater, and legally, it was my debt because though my father was a co-signatory on the card, I was the primary signatory. I was screwed.

Things at my job went tits up and I was no longer employed. After nearly two months of searching, I was still unemployed, and each month, the interest of the debt was climbing. I had no choice but to file for bankruptcy. Yay for me.

Now I'm depressed. That's enough for now.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque
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The Further Adventures Of What The Hell Is Wrong With Me

My father is crazy.

He's not crazy in the "I'm gonna take a butcher's knife and saw through some throats!" crazy. He's not Butch crazy. But he's got his problems. Some of these are not his fault: he was hit by a very large car and dragged for several blocks when he was ten, and suffered brain damage. He watched a friend burn to death on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. He was addicted to anti-depressants for most of the 80's (and I can hear you now: "God, weren't we all?") But some of his problems are his fault: the faithless harpy, Mary Jane. He's an arrogant prick. He alienates people he shouldn't, like his supervisors at the various places he's worked, and his own children.

Here's an example: you, fair reader, being of the internet and perhaps even on the internet, are most likely familiar with internet "discussions." You may not participate in them yourself, but surely you have seen them, or heard tell of them. Well, in "internet discussions," one type you'll encounter is the type who seems to be having almost a different conversation than the others. He's convinced he's right, and every time he's shown the error of his ways, rather than acknowledge it, he goes off on some obscure tangent that's rarely even relevant to what's being discussed. Oh, how I hate that guy!

Because I've had to live with that guy. It's fucking annoying online. Imagine encountering it in the real world!

Every we get just a little bit pissed because of a stupid ass thing he's done, he gets so fucking defensive, you would've thought we accused him of anally raping a partially developed fetus he just aborted and then feeding on it as a sacrifice to his Dark Pagan Gods! He has a habit of leaving milk out for hours in his room and by the time he puts it back, it's half rotten and when we tell him to stop leaving out the milk he goes into defensive asshole mode.

Of course, defensive asshole mode seems to be his default setting, but when he's called on his bullshit, he dials it up to 11.

Another example is his tendency to drop technical jargon into everyday conversation. It's never "I need some help moving things outside," ohno no. It's, "I am in the position of requiring assistance transporting bulk goods from point A to point B in the outer environs of the domicile." Well, I exaggerate, but not by much. He's not a lawyer, but drops lawyer-speak into bringing up going to see a movie. He's not an engineer, but he'll drop engineer-speak into asking to change the TV or radio station if interference is messing with the reception. He's not a computer programmer, but he'll drop programmer-speak into a comment on a video game.

In truth, he has a college degree in General Studies, and most of his studies involved computer programming. He's never made a living at it, though. He also seems to have an impossible time trying to wrangle a response out of a computer system. As my brother and I often ask, wonderingly: "How can someone who went to college for computers not know anything about computers? He once asked the two of us to help him in writing a program. "What's it do?" we asked, naively. Innocently. His response?

"It doesn't matter. We'll just write the program, and devise the function later."

. . .

He writes, in permanent marker, on his SUV. On the cinder blocks that he always intended to use to build a shed, but never did a damn thing with. He writes on the air compressor. He writes on wood (also for the shed, as well as for intended-but-never-implemented house remodeling projects). If he could write on air, he'd do it. And he . . . redesigns letters to . . . I guess make them easier for him to see them? Or harder for others to read them . . . I wish. He writes words above other words, like the way an editor scribbles in corrections on galleys. "The (scale)/level of Clinton's hypocrisy," is once such gem. He also has warned about those who would "tax them into submission." The more of his pidgin manifesto I see, the deader my heart feels.

He's mostly a harmless crank. But sometimes, he's carelessly malicious. I wasn't the only person he essentially stole money from. He did the same thing, on a much larger scale with my mother. His wife. So much for the vows of marriage, unless he took "for richer or for poorer" as some kind of challenge.

In fact, he filed for bankruptcy in his own mid-twenties.

Usually, though, he's just out of whack with reality. He once wanted to enlist me and my two brothers into helping him build a broadcast tower out of aluminum cans. A broadcast tower that he could use to broadcast internet access over the radio.

And then, he would reanimate the legions of the dead and CONQUER THE UNIVERSE!!!

No, not really. But still, I have to wonder about his many crazy schemes. There must be a purpose to it. He declares the reason he stores his own urine in canisters in the backyard (yes, really) is to try to ferment them into a pesticide, particularly an ant killer.

There has to be a purpose, a method to his madness. And for a guy to be that crazy it has to be nothing less than world domination.

At least that, I could respect.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque
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