I’m not sure how to express gratitude to a bunch of strangers. If my phone had a camera I suppose I could take a photo of my mug and the look of shock when I open my Inbox and find that someone has either left a comment or donated a few dollars into my PayPal account. I sincerely mean it when I tell you that you — the weird, amorphous you out there in the Interether — are what keeps me writing. I have always been one of those kids who rips up a drawing if it doesn’t look the way I wanted. It’s easier for me to give up than keep going. So know that in a very simple way, just by reading this, you’re contributing to one person’s life in a fairly significant manner. Now, all hippie bullshit aside, let’s talk about repossession.
What, you thought we were going to go sit by a campfire and sing Kumbaya?
In early May, reports surfaced that my favorite female rap super-duperstar, Lil’ Kim, was having her Bentley repossessed. Kim addressed both the repo men and the camera men from local news channels with, “Oh, please. Get the fuck outta here. You are so fucking ridiculous.”
Turns out the Bentley was a gift, supposedly from a music producer, and that after four years of her owning it he had gotten behind on his payments. Hence the repo men. Even if she had been in debt very little would stop me from wanting to hug Lil’ Kim and play Boggle with her.
Usually repossession is used with reference to cars or large men playing pool. I’ve known a few people who have had the unfortunate circumstance of having their vehicles repossessed, or after creditors kept calling, they had certain key items removed from their home. Of course, by “creditors” I mean ex-girlfriends. But repossession and debt collection are very real, I mean, the idea of debt is kind of what keeps this country going, or the higher-education system anyway.
It’s difficult to get money out of people after you’ve provided a service. (This harkens back to an earlier post, wherein many people wrote to me providing excellent advice insisting that I demand for a percentage upfront. A few of you told me to cry. One person gave me an excellent tip for keying the curvy characters of the alphabet into a car’s paint job.)
When I was a child, Inspector Gadget was always receiving messages that would self-destruct. I’ve often wondered if we could have an advertisement-copy-will-self-destruct button for those times when payment of an invoice way overdue. My professional partner in crime would have over two-hundred taglines exploding somewhere in a small Midwestern town.
In light of the fact that I can’t repossess the words I’ve thrown out there, that all I can do is call and insist and nag like a mother without her Paxil, I decided to dedicate this post to repossession.
I have an idea.
Recently I’ve wanted a pet. This is because it is spring and a lot of kids here in Portland bring their exotic animals out to frolic in the park on a leash. The most recent specimen I saw was an albino ferret being trotted around by a girl who had turquoise hair.
Among the animals I’ve demanded of late: a goldfish, a unicorn, a kitty, a unicorn, a chiuahuah if it is slightly overweight, a pair of cockatiels, a unicorn, a squirrel, and maybe a Shetland pony if I could glue a horn on it.
I’m not kidding. Being hungry makes me regress.
So, what about if instead of making it pure “repossession” I just…take stuff. I want a pet, a client has a Scottish Fold cat named Scissors, I’ll take Scissors and give him a good home.
I don’t have a garlic press. Maybe the client who’s three weeks late to pay and won’t answer his phone doesn’t need his. I swear I’ll give it back, once the check clears.
It would be an imperfect marriage of first-party agency and third-party agency. A constructive relationship would be preserved, if by constructive we mean that I get to borrow your Cadillac.
Of course I’m being snarky for the sake of humor, and I do feel that any previous lack of payment on account of our still-green business acumen is our own fault. It’s the idea that I produce something so ephemeral as the copy that goes on a website, something that can’t be taken back. If an individual entered the market that my partner wrote the taglines for — because of the tagline — and spent some money on maxi-pads and a donut, who is to say that a percentage of their patronage isn’t the interest that is being collected on the outstanding invoice?
I know, it’s irrational. I really just want to write about breaking kneecaps.
There is no “execution exemption” for words. But there should be. I wish that assignments could be put on auction. For one day only, six band bios and a whitepaper from 2007! Word Auction!
Intellectual property is a commodity, bitches.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was created in 1978 and states that, among other things, a collection agency can’t use abusive or profane language, threaten a person who is in debt with arrest, contact their place of employment, or cause a phone to ring incessantly. They also can’t bombard the person who answers the phone with “telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with the intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.” Oddly, that sounds exactly like what my mother does to me.
Oh, and the collector can’t embarrass the person in debt in the media. Ahem. I believe Lil’ Kim’s legal squad might want to make a few phone-calls.
Of course there have been tons of lawsuits, consumers say it doesn’t protect them enough, the collection agencies say that they are legally being restricted from doing their job, and the FTC goes home and eats a nice juicy steak. Collection agencies suck, being in debt sucks, and working without getting paid — even if it was because you were wet-behind-the-ears and too eager — sucks.
The FDCPA will not protect your housecats. I’m just saying.
With regard to the individual who posted a comment regarding any potential similarities between yours truly and Adam Curry, if he’s the Podfather perhaps one day I can be regarded as the anesthesiblogogist? The dude owns a Cessna. No offense to pilots out there, but if I were able to make nearly half as much money as he does I would not waste it on a plane.
I would probably waste it on making a Shetland pony resemble a unicorn.
Give a proverbial holla to my sister, Kim, or email me. (AinsleyDrew at gmail)