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Notes from the doghouse - Ed Brock

I'm in the doghouse, and while I'm out here scratchin' fleas I thought I'd impart some wisdom to the young.

Particularly the young now owing and/or accruing student loans.

God, those things are pure evil, aren't they?

Here's the thing about student loans. You go to college in order to better yourself and, supposedly, to earn a higher income. But what if you are silly enough to major in something like English literature?

Sure, us English lit types are slightly more marketable than those with a BA in Ancient Sumerian Philosophy, but you know the old joke.

A graduate with a science degree asks, "Why does it work?"

A graduate with an engineering degree asks, "How does it work?"

A graduate with an accounting degree asks, "How much it cost?"

A graduate with a liberal arts degree asks, "Do you want fries with that?"

So you graduate with this huge debt and then you make no money, so guess what doesn't get paid. I mean, if you don't pay the rent you're on the street or back home with Mom and Dad, and if you don't pay the car note you're walking.

If you don't pay the student loan bill you can just defer it and a delay it seemingly ad infinitum. What are they going to do, repo your diploma?

I actually thought that way once.

And that seems so easy, so long as you don't look at the "Interest Accrued" line.

Oh, yes, that baby just keeps growing.

But when you're single then you're bills are your own. You're the only one looking into the dark hole of your debt and wondering where that stairway to heaven is.

It's different when you're married. Especially if you marry someone who is, like, fiscally responsible and stuff.

The thing is, though, this is not a new issue. Indeed, it's a monthly issue.

It subsided for a while when, a few months ago, we actually started sending those people a check. Dual income and all that.

So that seemed to make her feel better and everything was just rocking along. Until she realized that about 75 percent of the monthly payments we've been sending in is going to pay interest and only that little bitty 25 percent remaining is applied to the massive principle balance.

It took me a while to figure out what about that made her so hot, then I realized.

She thinks we're going to pay that thing off. I mean, she actually wants to live to see the day when I, and when I say I, I mean we, are debt free.

Or at the very least free of that debt.

Well, that just never occurred to me. I mean, I thought student loans just stay with you forever, like a ragged childhood security blanket squirreled away in some dusky closet.

It never once occurred to me that we could actually pay that baby off, unless, of course, I won the lottery or sold a best-selling book or something equally improbable.

That's why I'm in the doghouse. Failure to share that goal of paying that debt I thought would just hover out there until the day I die.

So if you aren't already thinking "Duh, Ed, I could have told you that," then pay heed. If you're about to sign your 50th deferment, or worse yet, just tossing the bills in the garbage, be warned.

The piper will be paid.

And somebody please pass the flea powder.

Ed Brock covers public safety and municipalities for the News Daily. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or via e-mail at ebrock@news-daily.com.