March 10, 2012
I can hear my parents cheering me on from the Sidelines, as they watch me feed credit cards to Oscar, my shredder.
“Atta girl, Kimmie. We’re so proud of you!”
As Oscar chomps down and swallows the plastic meal, the gluttonous machine releases a rainbow of red-blue-yellow-and-orange crumbs into its churning tummy before it growls for seconds and thirds.
“Ummmm……Mastercard…yum-num-num-num….Visa….Me want more!”
“Take that!…And that!” I snap at each card before sending it to Shredder Heaven. “From here on out, you’re not the boss of me any more!”
At first, Plastic respected me. He knew his place — in my wallet — and he stayed there, offering to help with purchases costing a hundred dollars or more. But, except for home or car repairs, I rarely called on him.
Then came the drought — mid-December to late February and, sometimes, May to July. Despite the gaps between semesters and lapses in income, bills cannon-balled into my bank account, reducing it to a puddle. Waiting until I was ragged and vulnerable, Plastic pounced.
“You hungry? Thirsty? Put it all on me, baby,” he whispered in my ear.
I became his slave, his private dancer.
But now, it’s all over between us. Little by little, I’m reclaiming my independence and my dignity. No doubt about it — de-toxing from him has been hell, but, to quote Gloria Gaynor’s hit, “I Will Survive“.