I check the stats for this site every so often–visitors, views, referrers, etc. One slice of data that caught my eye recently is the search engine terms people type into sites like Google that get them to this site.
On Thursday, I saw the usual suspects:
- no more harvard debt
- how to pay off student loans
- how do i pay off my college debt
- can i serve jail time to pay off student loans?
Mother. Of. Pearl. Seriously? You can’t make this stuff up. And as proof, here’s the screenshot:
In spite of myself, I had to smile. I might have even laughed out loud. I can’t really remember.
But then I felt bad for whoever wrote that in. Are we in such desperate times that such desperate measures must be pursued to rid one’s self of student loans?
And then it dawned on me that this person might actually be a bona fide mother-flippin’ genius. (And yes, it was a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions during those 30 seconds. I didn’t know if I should laugh, cry, or be impressed.)
Think about it. If this guy’s making $45k a year and he can get the courts to agree to throw him in the clinker until his debts are paid off, how long would it take until he achieves financial freedom? $45k at 40 hours a week for 52 weeks comes out to roughly $21 per hour. If this individual making an average college grad salary owes the average college grad debt of $26k, then he’ll have to spend 1200 hours in lock-up, or 50 days. 50 days?? To pay off $26k of debt? Does such a thing exist for mortgages? Because if it does, I’ll take the title for my house in exchange for 337 days of my life in the slammer.
Caveat: I’m assuming this is one of those country club penitentiaries. I want to be able to work out in a climate-controlled facility, rock some volleyball on the weekends, maybe even hit up a little bocce ball–I don’t even know right now. I want a laptop with high-speed internet access, books, and a private cell with its own bathroom. I want three home-cooked squares a day. I want to be able to date. Scratch that, I must date. (Females, not felons.) In fact, I must have all of these things, and throw in a heated pool to boot . That cool, warden?
To get serious for a moment, this search engine term represents some extremely powerful social commentary. The above scenario is a complete farce. Even if you could go to prison to pay off your student loans, it ain’t gonna be a walk in the park. You’d be ripped away from your friends and family, your warm bed, hobbies, privacy and most importantly, your freedom. Replace your wife/husband/kids/friends/dog/cat with convicted felons and your bed for an inch-thick pad. Oh, and I highly doubt it would take only 50 days to pay off $26k of debt.
And yet! somebody literally asked the internet if they could go to jail to pay off their debts. That’s desperation. And I’m neither laughing nor impressed.