Wednesday, December 12, 2007

the attack of the killer credit card continues...

We left the last installment of that exciting saga aaargh! I've maxed my credit card! with me lying helpless on the floor, under ruthless attack from a red plastic rectangle. At that point I was struggling to pay back a credit card debt which had reached epic proportions 4 months earlier. Nearly 2 months later the battle continues.

Like the horrified viewer of an action movie, I've been observing with fascination the various stages of my 6 month battle. The opening scene, as in every good James Bond movie, began with the first horrified glimpse of the villain ("We owe HOW much?") followed by a riveting action sequence in which no quarter was given to the enemy (a month of extreme parsimony - "Lollies? No, we can't afford lollies! We need to pay back our debt!")

As every dedicated movie viewer knows, at this point the villain apparently disappears, stunned by the ferocity of the attack, leading to a burst of fatal over-confidence on the part of the hero: me. Weeks of self-control and an annual government tax payout enabled much of the debt to be paid off, leading to confident promises of rewards to self. ("When this is over - soon! - I'm going to buy that expensive item I've always wanted!") As my father dryly observed, getting into more debt is a funny way to celebrate getting out of debt, but it all seemed so easy.

But the one thing you must never do when dealing with an enemy is to turn your back. For like every good movie villain, my nemesis was biding his time, waiting for the moment when I let down my guard to attack with renewed vigour. At about the 3 month mark, there was a week or so of over-spending on unnecessary Christmas presents for the kids, at which point I realised that the battle may not be so easy after all.

We now reach the inevitable moment when the villain has regained the advantage, and has the hero tied down helplessly while he threatens him with assorted weaponry. The particularly perceptive reader may have noticed the subtle air of despair which permeated my earlier blog ("They're red. They're rectangular. They're deadly.") When I wrote this, about 4 months into the battle, the debt had crept up again, and I was despairing of ever being able to pay it back.

Two months later, and the villain and the hero remain locked in combat. For at the 6 month mark - that's right about now - I am still struggling to pay back the last portion of our debt. Dollar by discouragingly small dollar, it has crept gradually down, then up again thanks to the inevitability of Christmas, then hopefully down again in the months ahead.

Of course, you all know what the final scene is supposed to look like. It's a vicious, bloody, protracted action sequence, culminating in the moment when the hero finally prevails, destroying his opponent once and for all. More agonizingly long weeks of resistance and self-control until that moment when my debt is finally paid off, never (we hope!) to be seen again.

But how will the story end? Like the most ruthless of action heroes, will I take a pair of scissors to my red, rectangular, plastic enemy, ignoring its pleas for mercy ("but you need me! what will you do without me?") and cut it into tiny pieces, destroying it once and for all?

Stay tuned for the next exciting installment.

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