Friday, January 30, 2009

Some policemen have no sense of humor

They're taking all the fun out of life.

Meanwhile, is this a great country or what? The other day Bank of America offered me a loan at zero interest until next January. Most of these sorts of offers have a semi-hidden transaction charge of 3%, but this one had a maximum transaction charge of $75 so I naturally called them and snarfed up on the maximum amount they were eager to give me.

There was one catch though. The fussy bankers wouldn't let me use the attached check to pay off the 2.99 percent loan that they so graciously gave me last January. But they had no problem with sending the cash to my checking account. And they have no problem with me paying off last year's loan from that checking account. Because they've been so nice I may put the remainder in a nice safe 4% CD with Bank of America and make a few hundred bucks on their money. That's some small change I can certainly believe in. You'll never catch me saying that those TARP funds the government has been showering on the banks aren't going to good causes.

I'm sure Bank of America is very wise and prudent in it's lending practices, so I didn't feel it necessary to mention to the nice woman on the phone that rising unemployment levels have a pretty negative effect on the job market for corporate recruiters like me. I'm hoping that next January they'll actually pay me interest to take a new loan to pay off this one.

Disclaimer - Don't do this at home unless you are very reliable in opening your mail and paying bills on time. Nice bankers like those at Bank of America get very nasty very quickly if you miss a credit card payment.

You say that I may get in trouble kiting credit lines like this. There's an old, old story that's relevant.

Once upon a time a new prisoner was sent to the death row section of a Sultan's prison. The other prisoners, who were pretty negative about their situation, noticed that this new fellow was as optimistic as could be.

"You're doomed just like us," the other prisoners said, "so why are you so cheerful?"

"Because I made a deal with the Sultan," he said, "I got him to agree to grant me a pardon if I can do him a little service by this time next year."

"What service can you possibly do him," they asked.

"I agreed to teach his horse to sing," he replied, and that explained to them why every day this new prisoner spent an hour in the courtyard of the prison talking and singing to the horse.

"But you're never going to be able to teach that horse to sing," one of the very negative prisoners said, "it's hopeless."

"Ah, but it isn't hopeless," said the man, "for many things can happen in a year."

"What sort of things," they asked.

"Well, for one thing, I might die sometime during this next year;" he said, "and for another thing the Sultan might die, or he might get a new concubine who will brighten his mood and cause him to issue pardons; and who knows, maybe the horse actually will learn to sing."

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