The Maturity Notice / 5 August 2003
Oh, Black Pill (and I should note that I have never referred to my car by its nickname, because, as we all know, whenever anyone forces a nickname upon something it doesn’t stick—cf. my co-workers’ flat-out refusal to call me Bonecrusher), you are about to graduate from four-year car-loan college. I got the creepily titled “Maturity Notice” in the mail yesterday, informing me that the final car payment was due this month (like the abrupt disappearance of a monthly cash-hemorrhage was something I’d forget).
It’s strange to think back to the summer of 1999 when I sat in the car dealer’s office in Sunnyvale, Calif. and did no bargaining or counter-offering and in fact only understood about 30% of what I was agreeing to. I did grasp the fact that the car wouldn’t be paid off until 2003, the year in which—if my forecast was correct—I’d be publishing a very popular zine called Rapes of Wrath right out of my prison cell.
But it didn’t quite turn out like that. I often imagine Present-Day Josh making visits to Past Josh and cluing the chump in on what’s going to happen, and then laughing in delight as his fat little face is rocked by astonishment. “When you finally pay off this car,” P-D J says, “You’ll be living in Connecticut.”
“Connect-i-cut. See, you can’t even spell it in 1999.”
“Where was Newhart? Was that Conneticut?”
“I don’t know.”
“I get all New England mixed up.”
“By 2003 you’ll have been all over New England. In fact, you were in Maine for two years.”
“Maine? Total Stephen King action! That place is super-scary, I bet!”
“And before that, you were in Philadelphia.”
“Straight up: am I a hobo? You can tell me.”
“No, but get this: you’re engaged to Alex Massie.”
“That nut with the Yahoo Club? Look, Future Josh, if you’re just going to make up wild stories, I’m going to head on out. I’ve got a full afternoon of sobbing and Goldeneye scheduled, OK?”
“OK, but hear me well: sell that Lycos stock right now, I beg you.”
Sigh. I love that little shithead.