My conscience bothered me a little bit at first, but as time went on it became easier and easier. Before long, I didn’t even give it a second thought.
Some time ago, I was short on cash the day before payday. All I needed was enough gas in the tank to get to work. I didn’t have time to stop at the bank. Then I remembered my little grand-daughter Miranda’s piggy bank.
We keep a bank at our house for her so she can save the money she earns when she helps us with chores. After she has saved for a while we take her to Dollar General and she buys a few toys.
So I helped myself to ten bucks from her bank, and left an IOU to help me remember to pay her back.
Since she was only seven, Miranda is not too good at tracking her money, so she never noticed that I had taken another ten bucks from her bank the following week. Of course, I did the decent thing and left her another IOU.
It occurred to me after a while that I had been working hard for all these years, and I deserved to enjoy a little more out of life. I began to feel like this kid owed me something. After all, if I hadn’t been for me, she wouldn’t even exist. I started to feel entitled to some of her assets.
It didn’t take me long to clean out the piggy bank – her piddly savings barely bought me the house steak dinner at Applebee’s – but I faithfully filled the little pig up with IOUs so that Miranda would know she still had assets on hand.
After I opened the first credit card account in her name, I finally felt that I could start living in the manner to which I hoped to become accustomed.
Since Miranda was still in elementary school, and didn’t have much of a credit history, I could only get a $500 limit on that first card, but I knew I was on to something. It was easy to apply and receive new credit cards, and as Miranda’s credit history became established, all of her existing cards began to qualify for larger limits.
My first major purchase was a 14 mega-pixel SLR digital camera with 10x zoom. Best camera I have ever owned! It was worth every cent Miranda paid for it.
Later on I bought an awesome 4-wheel-drive ATV for off-road excursions. And I really looked good tooling down the highway in my new Harley.
Eventually I acquired my ultimate dream-come-true: a 40-foot yacht fully rigged for blue-water sailing. I was all set to travel around the world, courtesy of my grand-daughter.
Thanks to this child, I never had to worry about budgeting again. Anything I wanted, I just charged to her. As the bills from the older cards came due, I would simply apply for a new card, and then use a small portion of the new card’s balance to make a minimum payment on an older card.
After all, don’t we have the right to enrich ourselves at the expense of our grandchildren? Don’t they owe us a comfortable lifestyle?
After a while, Miranda started catching on to what I had done to her credit rating. She started getting kind of disrespectful with her grandpa, and accused me of taking advantage of her. The nerve of that ungrateful child!
I handed her a shoebox full of my personal IOUs, and assured her that everything was accounted for.
But she wanted some cash. She had tried to buy a new doll at the Dollar General, and they wouldn’t take any of my IOUs as payment. So she gets all whiny and in my face about it.
What are they teaching these kids in second grade nowadays? How about some respect for your elders?
So then she starts crying and screaming at me. “You are ruining my life! You have piled debts on me that I can never repay! How can I ever go to college? How will I ever afford to buy my own house? How could you do this to me? How could you be so selfish? I hate you!”
On and on she kept fussing, until finally she spit in my face and kicked me in the groin…
I was writhing on the floor, crying and coughing, when my wife slapped me across the face to snap me out of it.
“Dave, wake up! You’re having a bad dream!” she shouted.
I sat up in terror and was barely able to breathe. I was covered in sweat, and my heart was pounding. I held my head in my hands and could feel my temples throbbing.
“Oh Peggy, it was awful,” I sobbed between gasps for air. “It was the worst nightmare I’ve ever had! I dreamed I had become a United States Congressman!”