Jewish World Review July 30, 2002 / 21 Menachem-Av, 5762

David Grimes

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Consumer Reports

Pay my credit-card bill, please? | If you thought the Internet had little to offer besides free porn and instructions on how to build a small nuclear device from spare parts lying around your garage, have I got some good news for you: You can now use the Internet to pay off your credit-card debt.

I learned how to do this by visiting the Save Karyn Web site at Karyn, a 20-something Brooklyn resident, had run up a credit-card bill of over $20,000. Strapped for cash, Karyn realized that if she made the minimum payment each month, she would pay off her Bloomingdale's bill at approximately the same time the Earth falls into the sun, or Congress passes a universal health care bill, whichever comes first.

So she entreated the keyboard-punching public for help. Since June 23, when she began her fund-raising campaign, she has collected more than $700 from more than 100 suckers excuse me, from more than 100 concerned and sympathetic individuals. She also began selling some of her personal effects on eBay, raising another $300 or so. (Items auctioned off so far include Karyn's Gucci sunglasses, a belt buckle and a G-shock watch.)

While Karyn is reluctant to divulge too much personal information about herself (this is, after all, the Internet), she sounds like a decent person. For one thing, she is quite up front about the fact that anyone who gives her money will receive nothing in return. (If only I had known that before I blew my son's college fund on the psychic hotline.)

She also accepts full responsibility for running her credit-card bills to stratospheric heights, and does not blame her parents, the public school system or society in general for getting her into this pickle. In this age of victimization, that alone is remarkable.

Of course, I'm not so impressed with Karyn that I'd actually send her money, but I will gladly "borrow" some of her ideas to improve my own gloomy financial picture. Since upper management frowns on me begging readers for cash donations (I prefer unmarked 20s), I am thinking of auctioning off some of my unwanted stuff. I would like to say that a lot of this stuff was purchased at Saks or Bloomingdale's, but the sad fact is that most of it came from Sam's Club, Dollar Discount and Casual Male Big & Tall. Here are some of the things you can buy to tide me over until my WorldCom dividends come rolling in: 1 used tire. I'm not sure where this tire came from or what, if any, vehicle it fits. It's been sitting in the corner of my garage for as long as I can remember. It's possible that it belonged to the previous owners or simply mutated out of whatever's leaking out of the broken lawnmower.

1 broken lawnmower. This is a true collectible and would look swell in any living room or dining area with good cross ventilation.

1 cell phone, circa 1949. This is another one of those items that just appeared one day out of nowhere. It's hard to imagine how someone could lose this thing because it's the size of a shoe box and weighs as much as a small TV. The good thing about it is that it doesn't work, thereby sparing you (and those around you) annoying interruptions while eating dinner or watching a movie.

50 (more or less) used golf shirts. Painstakingly hand-stained by yours truly, these shirts come in a variety of styles and colors that haven't been fashionable since 1982. All were once part of the Grimes Collection but were relegated to the back of the closet when they suddenly shrunk after I quit smoking.

1,499 copies of "Tourists, Retirees and Other Reasons to Stay in Bed." When demand for my first book tapered off about 15 minutes after it was published, I was left holding the remainder of the first (and needless to say only) 1,500-book printing. To those of you who did buy the book, I would just like to say: Thanks, Mom.

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JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


07/25/02: Something to celebrate
07/22/02: Baseball needs to ban the fans
07/16/02: Hasbro should consider new inaction figure
07/11/02: Decline in trash-talking is harming our mental health? Well, #@%&!
07/08/02 Americans retain right to fork tongues
07/01/02 These laws were made to be broken
06/18/02 Watching enough commercials?
06/03/02 Throwing your vote to the dogs
05/08/02 Hey, Mom, could you spare a dime?: Parents' obligations unending

© 2002, Sarasota Herald Tribune