It's not about the house.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Sub-Prime Mortgage Massacree (or: How's This for a Turkey?)

I wrote this two years ago and re-posted it last year. I wasn't planning on posting it again this year, but I have three pies and a batch of dinner rolls to bake, so I don't have time to write a real post. Or else I just don't feel like it. Either way, I ain't. But this fits in well with the theme I've been endlessly dragging out for weeks, so enjoy! Again!

 

This post is called The Sub-Prime Massacree, and it's about the Sub-Prime, and the Massacree, but Sub-Prime Massacree is not the name of the Massacree, that's just the name of the post, and that's why I called the post the Sub-Prime Massacree.

You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents!
You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents!
Walk right in there’s beer in the fridge,
Just a half a mile from the damn drawbridge.
You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents!

Now it all started six Thanksgivings ago, was on – well, actually was on Groundhog Day, when my Johnny bought himself a scratch ticket. Johnny didn’t live in the scratch ticket store but he lived nearby the scratch ticket store, on the second floor, with me and Him and Her, the two cats. And livin’ nearby the scratch ticket store like that, we got a lot of tickets where our bank balance used to be. Havin’ all those tickets, seein’ as how we had no money, we decided that we didn’t have to be responsible adults for a good long time.

But we got up this day, this Groundhog Day, we found a down payment in one of them tickets, and we decided it would be a friendly gesture to take the ticket down to the Lottery Commission and trade it in for actual cash dollars. So we took the scratched-off ticket, put it in the back of a red Cadillac Sedan DeVille, took passports and licenses and implements of identification and headed on toward the Lottery Commission.

Well we got there and there was a chain along the wall and a big sign saying “Welcome to the Mass State Lottery” and there was Fox News on the television. And we had never seen Fox News on the television before, and with tears in our eyes we cashed that ticket and went looking for a safe place to dump the money.

We didn’t find one. Until we came to a side road, and off the side of the side road there was a fifteen foot cliff and at the bottom of the cliff there was a credit union. And we decided that one big pile is better than lots of little piles, and rather than empty the credit union we decided to throw our money in there.

That’s what we did, and we drove back to the cats, had a piss-up that could not be beat, went to sleep and didn’t get up until the next year, when we got a phone call from the universe. It said “Kids, we found your name on an account at the bottom of a ton of money, and just wanted to know if you had any intentions regarding it.” And I said “Yes, sir, Universe, I cannot tell a lie. I intend to ignore it for a little while longer.”

After speaking to the Universe for about forty-five days on the telephone we finally arrived at the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down and put that money to some Practical Use. So we got in the red Cadillac Sedan DeVille with the passports and the licenses and implements of identification and headed on toward the realtor’s office.

Now friends, there was only one or two things that the Universe coulda done at the Realtor’s office, and the first was it could have given us a medal for having avoided homeownership for this long, which wasn’t very likely, and we didn’t expect it, and the other thing was it could have bawled us out and told us never to be seen sittin’ on a wad of money like that again, which is what we expected, but when we got to the Realtor’s office there was a third possibility that we hadn’t even counted upon, and we was both immediately bamboozled. Bemused. And I said “Universe, I don’t think I can invest that money with these here blinders on.” Universe said “Shut up, kid. Get in the back of the patrol car.”

And that’s what we did, sat in the back of the patrol car and drove to quote Houses For Sale unquote. I want to tell you about fixer-uppers, which we looked at here. They got three kinds of poison, two infestations, and one major structural issue, but when we got to the AssVac there was five kinds of poison and three major issues, being the rottenest house of the last fifty years, and everybody wanted us to get in on the action around her. So we set to taking twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs or our bank accounts, with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was, to be used as evidence against us.

After the ordeal, we went back to the Realtor’s Office. Universe said he was going to put us in the red. Said, "Kid, I'm going to put you in the red, I want your wallet and your belt." And I said, "Uni, I can understand you wanting my wallet so I don't have any money to spend while I'm in the red, but what do you want my belt for?" And it said, "Kid, we don't want any hangings." I said, "Now there’s an idea," and I handed it over. Uni said he was making sure, and friends it’s a good thing he was, cause what we went through next I wanted to hit myself over the head and drown, and ‘bout the only thing I haven’t done with toilet paper since is roll it out the window, slide down the roll and have an escape.

But first we had to get a mortgage.

We walked in, sat down, with twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures of our bank account, with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one. Universe walked in, sat down. Man came in said, "All rise." We all stood up, and we presented our twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures, and the broker walked in sat down with a seeing eye dog. And he sat down, we sat down. Universe looked at the seeing eye dog, then at the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, and looked at the seeing eye dog and began to laugh, as we came to the realization that it was a typical case of Undocumented Lending, and there wasn't nothing we could do about it. The broker wasn't going to look at the twenty seven eight-by-ten color glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us. We was given 5% fixed for ten years and had to pick up the garbage in the AssVac, but that’s not what I came to tell you about.

Came to talk about foreclosure.

They got a final step in buying a house, called Closing, where you walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected and selected. I went down to get my Closing one day, and I got good and drunk the night before so I looked and felt my best when I went in that morning. `Cause I wanted to look like the all-American kid from Townville. Man I wanted, I wanted to feel like the all-, I wanted to be the all American kid from Townville! I was hung down, brung down, hung up, and all kinds o' mean nasty ugly things. And I walked in and sat down and they gave me a piece of paper, said: "Kid, sign this sayin’ you’re not poor."

And I went up there, I said, "Bank, I’m poor. I mean, I’m freakin’, I’m freakin’ poor. Poor. I eat soup three days a week, I reuse my tea bags. Eat dead burnt hamburgers for breakfast. I mean poor, Poor, POOR, POOR." And I started jumpin’ up and down yelling, "POOR! POOR!" and he started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down yelling, "POOR! POOR!" And the banker came over, pinned a medal on me, sent me down the hall, said, "You're our boy."

Didn't feel too good about it.

Proceeded on down the hall, skippin’ all the injections, inspections, detections, neglections and all kinds of stuff that they wasn’t doin' to me at the thing there, and I was there for two hours, three hours, four hours, I was there for a long time going through all kinds of mean nasty ugly papers I didn’t understand and I was just having a tough time there. Proceeded through, and when I finally came to the see the last man after that whole big thing there, I walked up and said, "What do you want?" He said, "Kid, we only got one question.

"Have you got a down payment?"

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the Scratch Ticket Lottery, with full orchestration and five part harmony and stuff like that - and he stopped me right there and said "Kid, did you ever cash it in?"

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the Cadillac Sedan DeVille and the Fox News on the television, and he stopped me right there and said, "Kid, I want you to go and sit down on that bench that says Undocumented .... NOW kid!!"

And I, I walked over to the, to the bench there. Undocumented’s where they put you if you may not be qualified to get a mortgage after spending all your money, and there was all kinds of mean nasty ugly looking people on the bench there. Single mothers. Immigrants. Single immigrants! Single immigrants sitting right there on the bench next to me! And the singlest, immigrantest mother of them all was coming over to me and she was mean 'n' ugly 'n' nasty 'n' horrible and all kind of things and she sat down next to me and said, "Kid, whad'ya get?"

I said, "I got 5% fixed for 10 and I have to pick up the garbage."

She said, "What house did you buy, kid?" And I said, "AssVac." And they all moved away from me on the bench there, and gave me the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I said, "I’m gonna fix it up and sell it." And they all came back, shook my hand, and we had a great time on the bench, talkin about money, real estate, bein’ poor, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the bench. And everything was fine, we was smoking cigarettes and all kinds of things, until the Banker came over, had some paper in his hand, held it up and said.

"Kids, this-piece-of-paper's-got-47-words-37-sentences-we-wanna- know-details-of-the-any-other-kind-of-thing-you-gotta-say-pertaining-to-and-about-the-I-want-to-know-names-and" and talked for forty-five minutes and nobody understood a word that he said, but we had fun filling out the forms and playing with the pencils on the bench there, and I filled out about the scratch ticket with the four part harmony, I wrote it down there, just like it was, and everything was fine and I put down the pencil. And I turned over the piece of paper, and there, there on the other side, in the middle of the other side, away from everything else on the other side, in parentheses, capital letters, quotated, read the following words:

("KID: WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOU’RE A LIAR?")

I went over to the bank, and I said, "Bank, you got a lotta damn gall to ask me if I’m a liar, I mean, I mean, I mean I'm just, I'm sittin' here on the bench, I mean I'm sittin here on the Undocumented bench 'cause you want to know if I'm stupid enough to buy a house, burn money, hit myself on the head and drown myself after winnin’ the lottery." He looked at me and said, "Kid, we don't like your kind, and we're gonna send your mortgage application off to Washington."

And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little folder, is a study in black and white of my mortage application. And the only reason I'm singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if you're in a situation like that there's only one thing you can do and that's walk into the bank wherever you are, just walk in and say "Bank: You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents!" And walk out.

You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and they won't notice. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think it’s performance art and they won't notice them either. And if three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin’ a bar of Don’t Need No Documents and walking out? They may think it's an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in, singin’ a bar of Don’t Need No Documents and walking out? Friends, they may think it's a Recession.

And that's what it is, the Sub-Prime Mortgage Anti-Massacree Recession, and all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it comes around on the guitar.

With feeling.

So we'll wait for it to come around on the guitar here and sing it when it does.

Here it comes.

You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents!
You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents!
Walk right in there’s beer in the fridge
Just a half a mile from the damn drawbridge
You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents

That was horrible. If you want to avoid Depression and stuff you got to sing loud. I've been writing this post now for three and a half hours. I could write it for another twenty minutes. I'm not proud... or tired.

So we'll wait till it comes around again, and this time with four part harmony and feeling.

We're just waitin' for it to come around is what we're doing.

And now here it comes.

You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents!
You’ll wish you didn’t
You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents!
Walk right in there’s beer in the fridge
Just a half a mile from the damn drawbridge
You can get anything you want, and you don’t need documents!

Da da da da da da da dum
You don’t need documents!



Everything I said in this little ditty was true when I wrote it, but some of the facts might have changed in the last few years. I don't know. I didn't read it. It's freakin' long!

Oh, and apologies to Arlo. Somehow, I think he'd understand.
Da da da da da da da dum
You don’t need documents!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!

2 comments:

Charlie said...

Hmmm, this is starting to feel like a tradition.

Hubert said...

I was supposing I should say something like Happy Thanksgiving. But then I never really understood the whole: "we have arrived to steal your land lets party" thing. Although it is quite ungracious of me to mention it all in that particular way.

In any case... Happy Thingday