An Approximation Of The Most Terrifying Phone Call I’ve Ever Had

“Hi, this is Sean from Debt Collection Unlimited, or DCU. While you’re shooting daggers at your boyfriend for handing you the phone even though I asked for you by your full name, which should have been a tip-off that this call was of the nefarious, debt collecting nature, let me tell you how your life will change for the worse from here on out.

Remember that money you borrowed to major in film at a crappy college in the suburbs of the small city in which you live? Well, we’d reeeeeaaallly like you to pay that money back to us, like now, and if you’ll just snap up your checkbook I’ll explain the ways in which you will become DCU’s bottom for the next several years of your life.

Quick, what are the two scariest words in the English language? No, not ‘I’m pregnant’ or ‘It’s metastasized,’ although I’m sure you’ll be saying that in the future, given how much you drink. For you, overgrown child of 31, jobless, hopeless, penniless, the two worst words in the English language are ‘wage garnishment.’ That means my superior, Mr. Bill E. Moneybaggs, will personally nose through those paltry unemployment benefits you call a paycheck, still taxed of course, and at a lesser rate of pay than you earned at your previous job, and subtract what he sees fit.

That does sound awful, so what I’ll need from you is a strict guarantee, in the form of your bank account and routing number, that you will begin payment no later than thirty seconds from now. I’ll wait.

You have how much in your savings? Jesus H. Christ, what are you doing with yourself? Oh you’re a writer? Welll, that’ll keep you warm at night. Whatever happened to filmmaking? Of course I kid, did you say seven oh two? Just wanted to make sure we had the account right, hate to take someone else’s hard earned money. How much did you pay into a 401K? You didn’t have a 401K? No, I’m not laughing at you, Wanda just told me something funny that her son said last night.

Can I be honest? You’re never going to pay this off. I mean, Barack Freaking Obama, president of the free world, paid off his school loans just a couple years before being elected. And he didn’t major in film, you get me?

Despite that, you’re doing the right thing™. Yeah, they make me say that, you’d be surprised how many people say ‘see you in court’ and just never show. But most of those people live in Buicks on their parents’ front lawns. Well I’ll let you go so you can ponder the cheapest way to off yourself. Happy New Year! Stay safe, OK?” TC mark

image – Yutaka Tsutano


More From Thought Catalog

  • Stefano Perfili

    WE ARE THE 99%!!!

  • Raymond Thimmes

    I made my loan payments yesterday. I’m half drunk already at 6pm tonight. Every action has an equal or opposite reaction.

  • EarthToNichole

    Printing this off for my music production major boyfriend. Thank you.

  • Kelly

    What? You mean when you borrowed money you didn’t realize that you would actually have to pay it back? Don’t you understand what a loan is?

    • mutterhals

      What?! I never thought of that. Jesus, are you a wizard?

    • George Eakin

      Oh, if we could all be so simplistic in our thinking as you. The real solution is to have all our children not go to school, except of course if your parents are rich. What a lovely vision of the future you have. Full of austerity and punitive measures.

      T0 be straight with you, your simpleton attitude is annoying and condescending. YOU are part of the problem, not the solution. If what you said is all there is to it, then there would be no difference in college attendance and student loans between now and 30 years ago. But there is a difference. The world has changed. Banks screw people bigger than they ever have before, the rules are skewed in their favor, education costs are enormously higher, and there are fewer jobs and lower wages to look forward to.

      But to hell with all those young people who thought they could better themselves by getting an education. That’s so 1970’s. Today they all should accept your plan of mediocrity. It’s all their fault. They should go buy some bootstraps.

      You’re on the wrong side.

      • Hank

        I think the world would be a better place if people didn’t think a university education should be the key to making a decent living, though such an education should still be available (and reasonably accessible) to those who want one. 

      • Guest

        (This is not a response to the person who wrote the article and the situation she is in, but instead a response to the above post.)

        I think I’m responding to your post from a general standpoint, mostly because of your use of the word ‘simpleton’ in your argument against the poster for being condescending. Furthermore, saying “You are on the wrong side” does nothing to help anyone. It creates a divide.  Anyways: 1. Education is important, but paying a hefty tuition bill is not mandatory. You can go to a variety of good schools, whether they are state schools, private liberal arts schools, trade schools, or online schools. Education is what you make of it and the opportunities you take while you are learning. Top tier school attendance may make it easier for you to get a job, but internships and the skills you learn at the school are important as well.  (Note:  I’ve met a variety of business leaders who are interested in the business education people get from University of Phoenix and other online schools, because of how transferable the skills taught there are to the workforce.)2. People should take their time in selecting their school and their major. Based on high school experience and familial income, people may be eligible for scholarships or tuition reduction programs. Similarly, select education programs that offer a variety of programs (internships, job training, etc) that make the transition from college to the job market easier, to prevent the inability to pay off debt. 3. High school is important. Students shouldn’t expect to put in the minimal effort into high school every day, not challenge themselves, and not utilize opportunities available to them (honors/AP/IB programs). If you use your time and opportunities well, you increase your chances of getting a scholarship. What needs to happen is a greater focus on high school performance, because a lot of students go into college not realizing the opportunities they missed out on because of high school. Study for your PSAT and SAT, apply for scholarships instead of watching Gossip Girl and Monday night football, and do your homework. Doing these things are not guarantee for getting money for school, but they certainly help. If you work or have other issues you deal with on a daily basis, these advantages certainly make it a bit harder for you. If you’re out partying or going to the movies, not taking these opportunities, and then being angered by the debt you accrued in college… know that some of the responsibility for this rests on you. 4. Similarly, if you have time in high school, you should get a job. At the very least, students should try to get jobs (no matter how mundane or gross) during the summer and save that money for a college fund. Even if this money saved adds up to less than $1000, students should know that colleges, scholarships, and future employers appreciate work experience.5. College is by no means an extension of high school. College, at the very least, should be a transition into adulthood.  With that, comes the necessitation of responsibility. What does responsibility entail? Responsibility means utilizing the resources at your disposal. Many institutions offer work-study programs that help pay off a tuition bill, and a variety of other student jobs help account for housing costs. Even if you want to go to graduate school, there are more than enough institutions that offer TA/RA positions that cover tuition and give stipends or hourly wages. Many people get caught in a debt trap, because no one informed them of these opportunities or didn’t take the initiative to find out they existed. The point of this post, which is too long to read for a Thought Catalog posting, is to say that the problem in debt doesn’t rest simply with the banks, the way the world changed, job prospects, the system, etc.  The world has changed. The world is always changing. Saying that people are on the wrong side or using extensive, biting sarcasm does nothing. There are people who have advantages in life, but there are things that people can attempt to do to mitigate their financial suffering later on in life.  If times are changing, it is important that people 1. know to be more cognizant of the choices they make through life, 2. take responsibility when necessary, and  3. inform each other about the resources and opportunities that are available. (Note: In these times, the people I feel additional sympathy towards are those who were told that a high cost education was the way to success or that high school didn’t matter. I feel sympathy for those individuals who had to work to support their families during high school and couldn’t take the opportunities necessary to excel. I feel sympathy for those individuals that had their parents coddle them… that had those parents who didn’t teach their children accountability in their decisions starting in high school or those parents who didn’t tell their children to look for opportunities and take their future into their own hands. If people are taught to be responsibile and take initiative in their own personal development early on, I would imagine that there would be fewer individuals stuck with high debt costs.)

      • Guest

        Meh. Copy and paste from Word didn’t seem to transfer my paragraph breaks (at least on my computer). Apologies to anyone who reads that. 

      • Kelly

        Mr. Guest poster, Thank you for that very well written and intelligent response. I couldn’t have said it better myself. :)

      • yepppp ok


      • George Eakin

        “If people are taught to be responsibile and take initiative in their own
        personal development early on, I would imagine that there would be
        fewer individuals stuck with high debt costs.)”

        I’d turn that around and say that it is the responsibility of adults to make education of our children a top priority. Instead, we’ve got bankers and businessmen taking advantage of them.

        Do you want this to always be a dog-eat-dog world? Is cannibalism in the form of capitalism your vision of a good economy? How about if we do better than this.

    • matt good

      has anyone ever told you how smart you are?

    • Gregory Costa

      Loan (n):  rich, fertile earth; earth in which much humus is mixed with clay and sand. 

  • Hank

    It’s not as bad as it sounds — they can’t take money you don’t have.  If they try to garnish your wages, you can fight it and if your income is less than x dollars then they legally can’t. 

  • Owge

    is this a parody of thought catalog, it has to be

    because why else would someone write an article from the perspective of a spoiled twentysomething who’s so self-obsessed she just wrote 1000 words about her student loans

    • Owge

      oh wait you’re 31 holy shit

    • Tryptamine

      She’s self-obsessed because she is concerned about her debts? That’s not self-obsession.

    • KK

      Nothing says “spoiled” like trying to further yourself through hard work for an education you can’t afford…you nailed it. Wait, you didn’t.

  • Lindsay

    best of luck paying off the loans. i just made my very first student loan payment yesterday….my checking account hurts :(

  • kaylee

    you’re doing the right thing™, hahah

  • ..

    …so glad my parents aren’t poor.

    • .....!

      so glad i’m not a complete asshole who will be poor when my parents die off

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