Tag Archives: open letters

A Letter to my Cat, Clark

2 Oct

Dear Clark,

I know that it has been hard for you recently, what with me working so many late nights and your feeding schedule being somewhat unpredictable. I also know that you have a lot of needs like head scratches, games of fetch, and the like. But right now your person is attempting to finish up an article on human rights and the water shutoff in Detroit and your constant meowing and knocking things off counter tops is proving rather distracting indeed. I understand that you like the sounds things make when they fall, but you must understand that sweeping up broken glass and picking up trash bag ties all over the house is not exactly my idea of fun. Also, I would very much appreciate it if you would stop chewing on things, such as the wicker basket on the kitchen table and my computer power cord. In fact, if you could stop going on the kitchen table entirely that would be greatly appreciated. I understand this is a lot to ask, but your sister does not seem to be having one bit of trouble with my requests as she has been sleeping contentedly on the sofa for the past 2 hours. You might argue that it is because of her ability to sleep for extended periods of time that she is a total fat ass, and you would have a point there, but I do not believe one day of catnaps would have any significant impact on your svelte physique. Any adherence to these requests would be greatly appreciated and subsequently rewarded with a catnip mouse.

Your frustrated person,


An Open Letter to my Student Loan Provider

28 Mar

Dear Nelnet, (Or, as I affectionately call you, Numbnut),

I would like to begin this letter to you, Numbnut, by pointing out that I have in fact been making regular payments on my student loans despite the fact that I have yet to go into repayment — well, until last week and without proper warning.  I have been expecting some sort of appreciation, some sort of lowering of my monthly bill that at this point must be paid starting on January 1, 2014.  But do I get any recognition?  Any significant changes to my AutoPay amount?  No.  I get pointless and angering emails.  Which is why I am writing to you today.

Yesterday I received an email from you entitled “Questions about paying your student loans? We can help.”  It seemed promising.  I opened the email, hoping against hope for the message to reveal something like “Out of millions of indebted students in the United States, Warren Buffet has chosen you to be the recipient of a grant that will pay your loans off in full and allow you to travel the globe for the foreseeable future.”  In lieu of that news, I would have taken some advice on ways to scam the system and somehow lower my 6.8% interest rate or some tips on working my loan payments into my monthly budget without skimping on the things I love (books! wine! overpriced clothes from Made Well!).  But no.  What I got was a few phone numbers and the following statement of email intent:

“We wanted to check in to ensure you are having the best student loan experience possible.”

Well, since you are “checking in,” let me be honest with you.  No, Numbnut, I am not having the best student loan experience possible.  You know what would make it better?  The aforementioned note about Warren Buffet.  Or perhaps having someone explain to me why it is that I am paying 6.8% on the cost of borrowing money to go back to school (which you all said we should do because the job market was/is terrible and this will better prepare us for the future meanwhile the future is here and, um, where’s your half of the agreement?) while the interest rate on my savings account is at something like .7% AKA nothing.  Maybe you could tell me why I took money out with CitiGroup, had it bought up by the government, and then somehow had it sold to you, Numbnut, without my approval or consent.  Maybe rather than taking on systemic issues, you can explain to me why, although the people I talk to at your call center are unbelievably friendly, they have absolutely no idea what they are doing.  When I called last week to inquire as to why my interest payment, which had been hovering around $35-$45 every two weeks or so suddenly shot up to $150 after a mere 10 days I was put on hold for at least 5 minutes — a cost I was paying because you are not toll free — at which point the very friendly, though ill-informed, call center guy hemmed and hawed through an explanation that basically amounted to “I have no idea.”    Maybe you could use the exorbitant interest rates being paid by me and my co-students, the interest rates you are presumably making money on, and actually teach your call center people how to do their jobs.  It doesn’t help that they are available 24/7 if they are completely ignorant, like the rest of us, about what you do and how it works.

I could keep going, Numbnut, but I think you get the point.  I think you and your cohorts are hustlers taking advantage of millions of people who wanted to propel themselves forward by getting their BA, BFA, MA, MFA, PhD, JD, MD, DVM and whatever other combinations of letters people might want to acquire.  I think this whole system is going to blow up in your face and mine when countless students default on their ballooning student loan debts.  I think when that happens people are going to bemoan the fact that we are awash in bankrupted lawyers and doctors and librarians when what we really need are people with “real skills.”  Honestly, I think this whole thing is a racket that will only serve to increase income inequality and lower the quality of life, not only for people who can’t find jobs but for those that can — with student loan debt amounting into the hundreds of thousands for some people, job choices becomes less contingent on what you believe and more contingent on your ability to pay off your monthly loan bills.

So, no, I am not content.  I will grumble every single time I make a payment, as I have been doing for the past year, because I am fully aware that I am being hoodwinked and that there is nothing I can do about it.  So don’t insult my intelligence.  This system is rigged in your favor and you will benefit for as long as it continues to function.  Do your thing.  But don’t act like you give a shit about my “experience.”  All you care about is the money.  That’s called capitalism.  You can expect your next payment at the beginning of the month.