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Goodbye, Debt . . .
Hello, Rice Cakes

by Charles W. Dowdy


The holiday season is the time for love, family and amassing debt.

Just take a look at the tube or listen to the radio and you can sense there might be a problem with debt in our society. There's "Debt-be-Gone," "Debt Eraser," "Debt-Terminator," "Debt-Deliverance" -- folks willing to help us pull out from under our mountains of holiday debt. This advertising has to send a powerful message to the frazzled, overdrawn crowd. After all, look at those beautiful, unworried people in the ads. They're sitting down to a well cooked, healthy meal with clean, behaved children. They are happy. They have their debt under control.

In my favorite ads, the wife looks on with care and concern as the husband deals with a debt collecting phone call that has interrupted their dinner. She doesn't throw a fork at him and yell, "I told you the Packers wouldn't cover 16 points," or the husband doesn't bang the phone against the wall and scream, "You want to foreclose on this house, bank boy, you'll have to do it over my dead body!"

Especially unbelievable is how the children silently watch as Daddy talks on the phone. Turn your back for two seconds at my house and some kid is getting a green bean shoved in his ear.

I decided to call a debt company for my free consultation. Normally we are led to believe that we should be ashamed of debt. Not at the company I called. A friendly debt specialist named Amy compiled my debt history. After several minutes she cheerfully informed me that I had done an excellent job acquiring debt. She was extremely positive.

Amy didn't flinch when I told her about my growing collection of vintage Dodge Darts. She didn't question the eight-carat diamond I bought my wife for our second anniversary because she knows my wife needed a little pick me up to kick off our second year together. And Amy actually swooned when I told her about the forty acres I'd bought on Mars. (She was not as bully about the eight-acre investment on Jupiter, but I know there has to be a solid surface somewhere under all that gas.)

See, my debt professional saw the bigger picture. She knew that for the most part these were important long-term investments that would benefit my family for years to come.

As a matter of fact, upon learning my young age, thirty-two, she put me through to Herb. Herb told me that proportionally I had amassed more debt in a shorter period than the nation's missile defense system.

But after working with Herb my family is now like the people you see in those commercials. We are all bathed and well groomed. Our meals are healthy and organized. There are no more worry lines on our faces because we have peace of mind, brought about by a simple long-term debt assumption plan that will place my children's children into an indentured servitude program.

That's right, we've turned over a new page in my family -- no more debt for us. As part of Herb's debt retirement program the kids had to sell all their toys. We've also installed a coal-burning stove, which leaks like a sieve but has taught the kids some invaluable lessons about fire safety. And our diet can only consist of dolphin friendly tuna and rice cakes, which helps with meal organization. I drew the line at Herb's taking my wife out to dinner once a week -- I go with him instead, which means more rice cakes for the kids.

Yes sir, it's a new day in our household. In fact, having my debt under control makes me feel like celebrating. I think I'll go out and buy something for the family.

Something really nice.

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Newspaper columnist and businessman Charles Dowdy lives and works in south Mississippi, where he helps his wife Bethany wrestle with 4 rambunctious chilluns. Editors may reach him at cwdowdyjr@yahoo.com.

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Congratulations to
Charles Dowdy
Named Humor Writer for April, 2003
by the
Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop
at the Univ. of Dayton [Ohio]


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Charles Dowdy's web site is not to be missed! He has to be one of the funniest, most irreverent writers in the South . . . or anywhere. Go see!

And be sure to read more of Dowdy's funny stories at USADS:
She Was Such A Dear
The Waiting Room War Zone
Small Towns and the Three Second Intersection Rule


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