One of the things that I liked – and continue to miss – about the world of journalism was the expectation that on a daily or weekly basis, I was paid to tell stories. Oh yes, these were stories that were rooted in fact and some of them weren’t very compelling (i.e. – explaining school tax levies? Thank God for flow charts and graphics.). But every once in awhile, I got to talk to someone pretty nifty and ask them a series of questions that I would then turn into a narrative of about 18 to 20 column inches. I talked to a young man who was about to spend the next 15 years in prison for a drunken driving accident. I talked to the mother of a woman who had been shot and killed during a random act of violence at a college campus. I’ve talked to governors, senators, mayors, teachers and young kids.
Some people were very good at conveying their message to me (ahem … politicians?), while some people stumbled over their words. And I’ve always wondered – if I was interviewed by a reporter – how would I fare?
Well friends, I found out on Friday how I’d fare if I was interviewed by a reporter. I was interviewed by a Japanese newspaper about my debt journey and I’ll be honest. I think that the word to describe my performance? Rambling. The reporter had some great questions, I had some mediocre answers that were punctuated by a couple of “ums” and “ahs.” But the gist of the interview was this: How did you get into debt? How are you getting out of debt and do I think that the American perception on spending has changed due to the crappy economy? (Crappy wasn’t the word used by the reporter – that’s my editorial privilege coming out. )
Out of all the questions asked yesterday, one of the ones that stick out for me was what was I charging that got me to my $10,000 hole? And you know what? It’s rather sad that after paying down the majority of my credit card debt, I really don’t have a lot to show for it. My credit card spending went toward clothing, gas and groceries. The only real vacation I ever went on was paid with cash. Otherwise, I don’t have a big screen TV. I have a ton of CDs that I listen to on occasion and some DVDs that are now gathering dust. Everything else that I bought are things that I used to have. Whether it was something perishable or temporary like gas or groceries, those are gone and as for the clothes? Most of them I’ve gotten rid of during my moves.
I don’t know – I’m glad that I’m 30 years old and only squandered about 10 years of my financial life. Ten years is still too long to be an idiot, but I’m glad to be on the right track.
I’ll keep you all posted as to when the article comes out. Incidentally, it’s in Japanese so they could write that I’m the “son of a motherless goat” and I wouldn’t know any better, but still … it’s cool to be on the other side of the pen.
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