Saturday, January 08, 2011

A Spiritual Solution to the Deadbeat Problem

One thing I have noticed is that no matter what the nationality, if a person borrows money from you, and either cannot or is not willing to pay it back, the behavior follows the same pattern:

1) An obsequious smile and a soft-voiced request for money if coming from women, and a non-chalant, cool swagger from men and a friendly grin with the same intent.

2) Once you loan money to them, they promise to pay you back on a certain date and start acting “ just normal” around you.

3) The date arrives and you see them walk proud with a head held high and a confident spring in the step. This is the first stage of not intending to pay you back. You then just follow them with your gaze and they just look deadpan and pretend they do not even know why you are looking at them like that.

4) You hem and haw and initiate a very awkward conversation- “hey, do you think you may want to pay me back the money you had borrowed?” “Oh sure, gee, I completely forgot!” ( he/she did not forget to ask you for the loan, but they conveniently forget to pay it back. Selective memory! “ I will bring it to you tomorrow”. Oh, that magic word- tomorrow!

5) Tomorrow comes and the strident, arrogant gait with confident, broad steps, and a non-chalant whistle to boot, reappears. The head is held even higher but now there is a challenging expression on the face and a mildly provoking smirk. “Go ahead and ask me again”. Hmm, you clear your throat and cough mildly. “Do you think you may pay me back today? I mean, like I really need the money to pay for this and that and the other.” “Oh, sure, just let me get to the bank, and some other excuse follows-“ I’m kind of broke now, you see I had to pay for gas and things like that”. “But don’t worry, just chill out, you are starting to get nervous and it is annoying me. Don’t you trust me?” “ I will do it next week if you don’t mind.” “: Next week? “ you said ‘today’, man, I really need that money! “ Now, an angry frown appears on their face.

6) The next day they walk in looking sulky and pissed and start avoiding you altogether; angry eyes sometimes flashing at you, mouth pouting, breathing heavy, body language threatening. You know at this time that if you raise the subject again, it will cause a confrontation. Suppose you do? Well, they explode! “ I will pay you! Just don’t bother me, you cheapskate! You are so greedy and stingy and all! I am sick and tired of listening to your complaints! Money, money, money, that’s all you can think about, you cheap Jew! “

I have seen this behavior coming from Brits, Germans, Filipinos and even very responsible Japanese. A deadbeat acts the same no matter the culture, race, creed or nationality.

There you go! You have lost your money, you have made an enemy and it is now YOUR fault! YOU are the troublemaker! YOU are now the one who is bothering, hounding and harassing people! You are the one who is bad and who is causing all sorts of problems.

What should you do? I will tell you what I do and you may call me insane. I forgive the debt. I tell the person that well, if it is so hard for them, then they should just consider it a gift and a donation. This way I cut my losses and I absorb the expense into my life! A big believer in karma, I pray to heavenly deities that this money serves the person well, that it is spent into the society at large and that, in some mystic ways, it circulates around the world and, in due time, it finds its way back into my pocket, not necessarily through the appearance of the exact same amount of cash (although it has happened to me, as well), but by better circumstances, cheap deals, upgrades and freebies in the future. I like to think that it does. Ever since I adopted that kind of attitude, I have been upgraded to first class airplane seats (which would have meant a couple of thousand dollars extra), spent months on end working only 2-3 hours a day and then relaxing at home but getting a full pay and by getting jobs with lots of fringe benefits that other people would never have. While I cannot conclusively prove that this was a direct result of my having written off so many debts to others, I can confidently say that I have been blessed with lots and lots of generosity from the Exchequer of the Universe.

In addition to that, the person that you forgave the debt of will now be treating you like a demigod and will be feeling guilty for a long time. Who knows, he/she may even pray for your health and well-being thus putting positive energy into the Cosmos associated with your name.

Or, as in some 10-20% of the cases, he/she may even pay back the debt!

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