I remember a time before I was in debt, a happier, carefree time. But then it all started. You know how it is, one night down the pub, with some friends, you run out of money and ask one of them to lend you a couple of quid for your drink. "Sure" he says. "Pay me back when you can." he adds. That sharp, illicit thrill of buying a drink on credit, that delicious mouthful of fiscal abdication. I was gone from the moment he agreed.
Of course it started out small, a few pounds for lunch here, a tenner for the train home, that sort of thing. But then, in only the space of a decade of increasing boom and without the awareness of the inevitable bust, I had become a debt addict.
I used to just get a hundred pounds or so from, say, Quickquid, "Just to tide me over till payday" I would say to myself as I accepted their exorbitant interest rates. They were only little loans, but the interest rates made it oh so thrilling to use. I couldn't resist the easy availability.
Later, I recieved a credit card from the bank, which was to be the last time I really considered what I was doing to be wrong. From then on, I was deemed fiscally responsible enough to maintain a credit card and the ensuing debt that comes with it.
Then it came to the big ones, a loan here, a loan there, then I remortgaged my house. I was continually hanging round outside the banks, looking for my debt fix.
Eventually though, the banks stopped giving me easy debt, the credit had started to dry up, but I'd become addicted, I couldn't live without the debt, so I had to find... Other methods of getting the debt. That's when I met Mark. Mark "the Shark" he was called. He could set you up with a little bit of debt, but it wouldn't come cheap, and you better pay him or you wouldn't just be refused service; you'd be refused use of your legs.
I started then to realise that I was in too deep, I needed out of the credit system, and that's when I thought it would be financially expedient to fake my own death and start life again in Panama.
As retold to me by John "Canoe Man" Darwin.
Admittedly, he didn't say any of this, but he might have done. So I feel I'm pre-emptively quoting him. But I cannot stress enough that I am not quoting him at all.