The Game of Life

Applying for a Credit Card Becomes an Awkward Trip to the ‘Future’

Antonio de Pereda‘s ‚Allegory:‘ Time and money are two thing we never have enough of | Photo: Creative Commons

It started because I wanted to buy a flight home at Christmas without having to ask my dad to book it on his credit card. He always tries to redirect me to chicken airways flying from a distant European capital. Because it is ‘cheaper’ he says. So is sleeping in a tent, I say. That sort of thing causes bad blood at Christmas, you know.

I needed true financial independence. So I went to the bank.

-”I want to order a credit card. I’ve never had one, you see.”

The dark-haired lady at the desk gave me a welcoming, motherly smile, asked me to take a seat and fixed me with intelligent eyes:

-”Mr. Cummins! I’m very pleased to see you. Have you given thought to your pension?”

-”Look, I still get pimples the night before parties. I collect World Cup stickers. I really don’t think…”

-”It is never too early to think about your pension, Mr. Cummins. What plans have you made?”

-”I was thinking of dribbling a lot, complaining about the price of everything and…”

-”A pension is nothing to joke about, Mr. Cummins.”

I felt chastened. So we played a game. I had to guess how desperately poor I would be at the age of 65 if I didn’t take drastic action now. Now, I have a minimalist, romantic vision of old age so I calculated what I would need for a wholesome diet of cheap red wine, onions, garlic and olive oil, doubled the figure to insure against explosions in olive prices, added the cost of a few DVD box-sets and named my price.

-”I’m afraid it would be less, Mr. Cummins.”

-”Oh I see. I’ll have to use sunflower oil.”

-”Bitte?”

-”Oh nothing.”

-”We’d better look at where you can put money aside, had we not Mr. Cummins?”

-”What are your plans for life?” She aske.

-”What? I mean pardon?”

-”What do you want to do with your life, Mr. Cummins?”

-” Um, I just came for a credit card.”

-”You know. Do you want to get married? Have kids? Build a house?”

-”Um. Yeah. Perhaps.”

-”When?”

She drew a chart. It was a diagonal line from me to a drawing of the sun. The sun was marked ‘pension’.

-”When? “She repeated, more urgently this time.

-”I…”

My phone rang

– “Hi honey, when are you coming home?”

– “Hi honey, when are we going to get married?

– “****”

– “I have to put it on a chart. At the bank.”

– “*****”

– And kids? Just for my life chart.”

She hung up.

-”I dunno.” I told the nice lady at the bank.

“Well, let’s move on to something else.” She suggested.

-”How will you finance yourself if you have an accident that prevents you from working, Mr. Cummins?”

-”Was?” The traffic outside seemed suddenly loud.

-”Or an illness that means you can no longer work?”

-”Bitte?” I could suddenly feel the free radicals attacking me.

-”I think an insurance would be wise, Mr Cummins.”

-”Yeah… Um… Good idea. Right. Um…”

-”And how much do you think you will be worth in the case of a fatal accident?”

– “…”

-”Where are you going Mr Cummins? Wait! Wait…”

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