For most of us, going to college required borrowing money from the government, or a large bank, or some combo of the two. When you get yourself into college, no matter how good or bad it is, at some point, they start asking you how you’re going to pay for your education. If you used loans like most of us, you eventually have to pay them back. They tell you that when you apply for the loans, but they say it in a whisper-soft voice at micro-machine-man speed. You know what you’re signing yourself up for, but it doesn’t sink in until well after college, when you’re hunting for a job that won’t pay you enough to take any serious chunk out of your debt before you’re in your fifties. Six months after you finish school, they start calling you and wanting you to pony up. You can defer those payments for a while on most loans, but that doesn’t mean they leave you alone forever. They’ll call you up from random numbers in different area codes to keep you off the trail. So you answer, and if you hang up, they’ll just call you back. Thwarting the Sallie Mae gestapo takes some creativity. Here’s how I’ve kept them at bay…
“Hey, I’ll call you right back…”
This one sort of works, but only if you do it in a swift, hurried way. You have to pretend that something directly in front of you caught on fire, and you’ve got to get off the phone to put it out. As the representative is talking, cut them off by shouting something like “The kitchen bacon fire! Jesus!” The less sense it makes the better. Then say “I want to pay this, I have the money, let me call you RIGHT back.” They say “okay” because they’re confused and you just bought yourself another few days.
“I’m waiting on this inheritance check…”
This one’s risky because if you’re not actually waiting on an inheritance check, you’re karmically ordering a relative’s death. That’s why it’s important to use someone that’s already dead. Give the student loan officer a specific date on which you will receive your non-existent inheritance and they’ll leave you alone for a while.
“I joined the Army…”
Just say this loud, with lots of bravado. When you’re questioned on it, question your student loan officer’s devotion to their country. Start asking them if they like living in a free country, then remind them that it’s people like you (or rather, the people you’re pretending to be like) that keep this country great. Hang up in anger.
“I can only pay you in cash…”
Ask them where you can make “the drop.” Use every bit of lingo you picked up watching Breaking Bad and sound stressed out/worried if possible. They’ll undoubtedly refuse to take cash, but you can at least go on record as attempting to make a payment.
“I no longer believe that money is a reality…”
This one will only work for philosophy majors. You can argue that money isn’t a reality, and as long as you’re not arguing with another philosophy major on the other end of the line. You might be able to win them over and at least get them to stop calling for a week while they transfer you to a new loan officer. Since the old one will have quit due to the existential crisis you triggered.