Monday, April 06, 2009

Fiscally Responsible

Whenever you apply for a loan - it doesn’t matter for how much - the bank or financial institution concerned will always ask what you want the money for. And rightly so. This is to ensure that you’re fiscally responsible and won’t, in their view, "piss it up the wall", thus requiring them to send people round to break your legs if and when you default.

Accordingly, a person who replies that he needs the capital for, say, household improvements or a new car will, generally speaking, be approved. But if he says he wants to finance a string of sleazy massage parlours or purchase a couple of kilos of high-grade, uncut cocaine, normally he’ll be turned down. No matter that he might be able to provide documented evidence of his ability to import a bevvy of willing girls, cheaply, from eastern Europe, or that he’s taking over an already highly-profitable drugs distribution network – the majority of lenders (maybe even Ocean Finance and Purple Loans, too) will usually say no.

All well and good. But why confine this to loans? If you’re obliged to prove that you’re responsible enough to borrow money, surely you should have to show that you’re also responsible enough to spend it. In my opinion, therefore, in addition to asking you how much you want to take out, cashpoint machines should, as well, demand to know what you intend to use it for. This would be easy enough to implement, even with present-day IA technology.

Having entered your PIN and specified how much you required, you’d be presented with an on-screen message to the effect: “Please state the nature of your intended purchase(s).” Whereupon a fiscally responsible person would enter, via the ATM’s keyboard, “I’m going to buy groceries for the week and perhaps a good book. Something by Isabel Allende, maybe.” Then (subject to sufficient funds being available in the account) the ATM would cough up the requested amount. However, if you were to say, “I’m going to spend it all on one of those whores that operates in an upper room just off Dean Street, then I’m planning on getting totally fucking pissed in The John Snow”, the machine would simply respond, “Your bank has refused to authorize this transaction”, so saving you from yourself.

Of course, some fraudulent individuals, although they fully intended to hire a whore and get pissed in The John Snow afterwards, would undoubtedly type, “I’m heavily into early 20th century Russian literature at the moment, so I’m going to use the money to buy a couple of novels by Mikhail Bulgakov. One of them being The Master and Margarita, obviously.” At this point, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the machine would have no option but to take him at his word and dispense the cash. But it would store the client data to its memory for later retrieval. So the next time this particular individual tried to male a withdrawal, the machine would first ask, “What was it like, then?”

Thereupon, I imagine the exchange would proceed along the following lines:

“What was what like?”
“The Master and Margarita, of course.”
“Oh, it was great. I loved it.”
“You feel that Bulgakov was more incisive in his use of satire than, say, Vonnegut is?”
“What intelligent person couldn’t come to that conclusion?”
“So what do you reckon to Woland’s magic show at the Variety Theatre? What’s that passage expressing, exactly?”
“Err …. Well, that worked for me on so many levels, it’s hard to explain in mere words.”
“But you felt, for example, that Woland provided a suitable foil to the character of Satan?”
“Of course.”
“You CUNT. Woland was Satan. You haven’t read the book, have you? You spent your money of fripperies instead.”

Whereupon, members of the Fraud Squad, ejected from a slot in the ATM, would instantly arrest the miscreant and put him in chains. Thereafter, even hanging would be too good for him.

In this way we’d all be encouraged to spend our money somewhat more wisely. Or, if not, then it might convince us to at least get a lot better at lying about what we actually did with it. Which would serve us well for future encounters with the Inland Revenue and for those occasions when we genuinely did need to borrow money from the bank for massage parlours and high-grade, uncut cocaine.

1 comment:

K. MacEgan said...

I drank in the John Snow once.Puzzled as to why they named it after a newsreader.I read the first Chapter of Maistr i Marguerite pa rooski.Potom pa angliskii yazik and it still made no sense.Years later I re-read all of it.Went to Patriarchs Pond and had a drink with Nick The Yank.Oksana Ivanovna liked it.But then she never put out for me.Pity.