Grub Street: Thank Goodness for the Bailout!
Author: Paul deVere
Thank Goodness for the Bailout!
It’s “Fill in the Blank” (FIB) contest time! Whenever the spirit moves, Grub Street will feature a FIB contest that has, at least tangentially, something to do with the main topic of discussion, exposure, lunacy, etc.
24 Hours of Daytona canceled, NASCAR reduces all race distances by 10 percent. The Indianapolis 500 qualifying round reduced from four days down to two—several days of practice eliminated. Name the year! ___________
Energy crisis leads to greater interest in renewable energy and spurs research in solar and wind power. Greater pressure to exploit North American oil sources, and increase the West’s dependence on coal and nuclear power—interest in mass transit increases dramatically. Name the year! ____________
Big Three (GM, Ford, and Chrysler) forced to introduce smaller and fuel-efficient models for domestic sales. Name the year! ______________
Ford ramps up production of (Name the car! HINT: now most often seen on grocery shelves with the word “beans” following) _________in response to fuel shortages. Soon nicknamed _____________(HINT: 1982 thriller starring Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, Dyan Cannon; based on play of same name.)
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”—Albert Einstein
The name of the game is funding. Funding for our credit card debt. Funding for our refrigerator shelves. Funding for college.
It was that last item that really got me going. While scholarship money is paying part of it, we still needed, well, FUNDING. And, boy, did I make a discovery!
A little background: To get a student loan (assuming there will be funding for that sort of thing in the near future), the paperwork is astounding. I counted a total of 15 forms (federal, state and university) we had to submit—again (every semester this happens). And that didn’t include copies of our income tax forms. (Our income tax return last year, to prove that we did, in fact, owe the government money, ran 34 pages.)
Just for the heck of it (and in an attempt to dissipate the frustration mounting as I discovered yet ANOTHER bit of information the FUNDING institution wanted—my great grandfather’s middle initial on my mother’s side), I Googled “bank bailout forms.”
I ended up at the U.S. Treasury site. A bank, to get into the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief [billion dollar] Program) must fill out a form two pages long. Who knew?
Well, as any good, cutting-edge financial genius cum entrepreneur would do, I immediately Photoshopped a very cool letterhead (“1st GrubbyBank, LLC) and business cards (Paul deVere, COB, CEO, CFO, COO, UFO). Set up a website (firstgrubbybank.com), opened a Cayman Island account (the ONLY financial center where you can still get a toaster for opening a new account with $50 or more), and sent out our first SPAM e-mail (“FIRST, I MUST SOLICIT YOUR STRICTEST CONFIDENCE IN THIS TRANSACTION…”) to the very same folks who fell for the multi-million dollar Nigerian Scam, brilliantly executed by old buddy Dr. Clement Okon (I have his current prison address if you care to drop him a line).
Being a renowned multi-tasker, I also designed a bumper sticker that reads “We ❤ TARP, 1st GrubbyBank, LLC.” T-shirts (free to the first five customers) with the same basic design are in the works, as well as some used Barry Manilow CDs (free to the first 10 customers depositing over $100,000). The jewel case is stamped with a sophisticated “We ❤ Barry & TARP.”
We’re also encouraging all our customers to “Go Green” by having a paperless account. (Printing out checks and deposit slips and statements on my Brother MFC could get costly), which, of course, would make it harder for anyone (customers or federal regulators) to “follow the paper trail.”
At the same time (see “multi-tasking” above), as I was filling out the TARP forms, I noticed they asked for “other” company contacts. Since I’m the only “contact,” I’ve decided to solicit resumes for 1st GrubbyBank’s board of directors. The conditions are few. However, based on the recent successes of such Wall Street “top-of-their-game” giants as WaMu, Lehman Bros., AIG, Countrywide, GM, Ford, Chrysler, etc., we really won’t be considering you. If, however, your employment history includes “Greeter, Wal-Mart,” you’re going to go to the head of the line. And, unlike certain institutions mentioned above, we will actually check references. Send cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As of this writing, I’ve asked the Feds to give 1st GrubbyBank $2.5 billion, which should tide us over until our incorporation papers come through. And, while I haven’t priced a Gulfstream G450 in the past few weeks (used, of course), I am sure we’ll be able to come up with the cash.
As for our lending practices, we won’t have any. We’re going to spend our way to the top! Which means we start with the kids’ college tuition. Based on the amount I see on page 11 of the student loan form, we may have to ask the TARP people for a little more.
(FIB answers:1973, 1973, 1973, Pinto, Deathtrap)