GETTING THE MONEY
There are a hundred advertisers on radio and television, proclaiming how easy it is to borrow money from their bank: easy terms, low collateral, no application fee. Yet the minute you walk into their institution and ask for some cash...
"Mr. Rayment, you want to borrow how much?" The loan officer had a high grating voice. "You cannot be serious."
In my limited experience, loan officers are wary people who have not had a bowel movement in at least a week. The loan officer in my case was no exception. Her lips were pressed tightly together (she talked through her nose), and her fist was clenched around a ball point pen.
I stuttered for a moment and looked at my wife. She had been conscientious enough to dress for the occasion. I, however, was attired in my usual Friday afternoon garb, an old pair of jeans, a plaid shirt, talking tennis shoes and a ball cap that proclaimed my fondness for beer and loose women. (Unfortunately, my wife lets me indulge in neither vice.) I cleared my throat. "Well, it is a big addition. Besides, I need a few new tools to do the job."
The uptight woman glanced at our application form. "It says here that you have not finished paying off your last home improvement loan. Ahem, did you actually use it for home improvement?"
"Sure," I responded readily, "I put on a new garage."
"Yes, but, you could have done it twice over for that amount."
"Well," I admitted, "I had to have something to put into the garage, so I bought a used Harley, too."
"I see." The loan officer found this frivolous use of funds disagreeable. She shuffled the application. "I see you did not put the motorcycle up for collateral or claim it as an asset."
My wife reached over the desk and put her hand on the woman's arm to reassure her. "I don't think you'd want it. It's no longer a real motorcycle. He took it apart two years ago, and it's still hanging from various places in the garage."
"I'm working on it," I rebutted. I was mildly offended by Robin's evaluation of the value of a Harley. Even as a pile of parts, a motorcycle can be a beautiful and valuable machine.
My wife turned on me with a look that said, "You shut up, and let me do the talking."
The loan officer interrupted our silent communication. "What about THIS!" She spun the application over the table. Her finger lashed out and landed directly on top of the words I had penned in the box asking for my employer. I should have been smarter than to write "self-employed". I would have had a better chance of getting a loan if I had been on public assistance.
I shook my head in wonderment while my wife rushed in to save the day. "Don't worry; I have a REAL job," she said.
I allowed the backhanded insult to slide.
The loan officer slowly dragged back the application. "That IS a saving grace, Mrs. Rayment." She said this in a way that broadly hinted, "How did a nice young lady like you end up with this deadbeat?" More silent communication.
I resented the insinuation. However, I took Robin's non-verbal advice, and, for the sake of the loan, I kept my mouth closed. While the woman returned to the papers, I leaned toward Robin and whispered, "If I had wanted a rectal exam, I would have gone to a proctologist."
"I heard that." The loan officer jerked her head up.
I shrugged in response; there was nothing more to be said.
She wrinkled her nose to indicate how distasteful she considered our interview and that she was relieved it was coming to a close. "Well, Mr. Rayment, your rectal exam is complete. I have decided to approve the loan. However, there is a condition: your wife will have custody of the funds. She will approve all expenditures."
That was that. We got the money two weeks later and were on our way.