Bill collectors, hard-working Americans, and people from foreign counties who have settled into jobs formerly held by hard-working Americans, are the absolute bane of the poor person’s existence. Back in the day, the worst thing they would do is call you “up on your job,” as my Homegirl on the Beach, Alvita, says. Now they will let you know in 140 characters or less all up on your Twitter feed that they want their damn money. I even saw a friend being called out on her Facebook wall about a past due bill. If that doesn’t make you want to tighten up your online force field, grits ain’t groceries.
In these hard economic times, most of us will stumble into a temporary state of broke-assity. Chances are, some dude from a phone bank in the heart of downtown Can You Please Repeat That in English, India is gonna call you. If you are new to poverty, or you just need a little help shutting down all those begging ass agencies that help begging ass broke people, like me; I’ve got a few tips for you. I am an expert on poverty. I’ve been broke ass in two states. I practically deserve a leather chair next to Suze Orman’s black ass. I think I’ll call my show: The Broke Ass Whisperer. (Please say this with reverence and pretend you have on sparkly Michael Jackson gloves when you do that starburst “tah, dah” thingy!)
1. If you do slip up and answer the phone (you do know they make this thing called caller id?) use it as an opportunity to endear yourself with the collector. Start by playing Barry White’s Never, Never Gonna Give You Up, and in a whispery sing-songy voice, ask if you can kiss the collector all over his/her sweet, sexy body. Right on. (Bonus points if you’re willing to gay for the sake of bad debt. I can just see you now on a podium at the next Gay Pride event in your town. Drag queens will kiss you… You go, girl! ) You have to shift the focus away from your broke ass being stupid enough to actually answer the phone. If it means having phone sex with some dude in India, so be it. It’s only cheating if you take pictures of your Johnson or your Smack Madam and post it on Twitter.
2. Never, ever admit, affirm or even hint to the fact that you are on the phone. If you do, the credit clock starts all over again, and that crazy spending spree you went on buying all those Africa Medallions/ Mr. Hammer Pants/ Hair crimping appliances in 1991 will be straight up dope and freky, freky, fresh, AGAIN. This is the only time hanging up on someone without first giving them a good- old- fashioned -Trenholm Court Housing Project- caliber cussing out is ever acceptable. On second thought, just get ETHNIC on the collector, but stop short of threatening to cut them. That will just get the Po-Po dispatched to the hizzie; and you don’t want a piece of the badge. Remember, we are in a recession, and I have it on good authority that cops get paid a “put her black ass in jail” commission…ok, I’m totally making that up.
3. If you are broke ass and bone-headed enough to say your name, throw in a “residence” afterward. Like, “This is Mary. Mary’s RESIDENCE.” (and scream that part, just for fun!) That will make the collector pause. Then you can slide in, this is THE MAID, or even better, THE NANNY. Bill collectors hate to think that the debtor is using charged-off debt dollars to live the good life. This is also the perfect time to invent the life Oprah says you really want. Think of it as your big break in acting. I used this one recently, “I’m sorry, I’m Tamela’s (always screw your name up the second time) NANNY. She and her husband, Mr. Rafeal, (see, see, see, works for you and your baby daddy, too!) are on holiday in the South of France with Jay-Z and Beyonce. May I take a message?” The Collectress got all pissy with me, and asked me to repeat myself. So, I did, but this time I did it with my signature Afro-Cuban accent. I’ve got some country kinfolk in Cuba, Alabama and I know all the words to “Conga” by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine!That's close enough to #WINNING! Of course I sounded like a cross between Bono, Ellie Mae Clampett and Miss Cleo, but that is not the point. The point is the bill collector was so pissed that she thought Tamela was off having a Rump Shaker Rematch with Beyonce’ that she put me on hold while she conferenced in her MANAGER. I used that as the perfect opportunity to pretend the phone company had just cut off my phone. Well, that wasn’t much of a lie…the next day the telecommunications repo man got me! I totally saved myself from having to lie to the Collectress and her boss about when I could send them a check (eye roll, tooth suck, double cobra neck), by lying about my identity with an accent. Hell, I should submit it as part of my reel to casting directors. IT was NAACP Image Award worthy. I would like to thank all the broke ass people who taught me being broke isn’t just a way of life; it’s a state of mind…sniff,sniff.
Being broke ass is painful and embarrassing, but with a little creativity; you can make it fun! Just ask all those bastards that took TARP money…
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