Why is it people work so hard to be so gloriously unhappy?

Unhappiness is not knowing what we want and killing ourselves to get it.

     - Don Herold

Lo, dark days persist; ere I faced the oncoming juggernaut we know as The Mortgage Banking Industry, I once again failed to see my folly – my misdirected mind sees not now that which I have feared, but rather that which I heretofore never once gave a fucking single thought to.

Three little letters: P. M. I.

Private Mortgage Insurance, a service one might assume is in place to succeed the borrower in the event of economic downturn, is actually a scam. Lots of “Private” and “Mortgage” happening. Very little “Insurance.”

Surprised? Not me. I always knew this little surcharge on those of us inclined (read: stoopid enough) to go 100% financed, designed to remind us that we’re too fucking poor to offer a down payment, and this gives an already corrupt and shady industry an additional income stream which is, of course, not intended to support the homeowner in the event of a default. It is intended, of course, to support the bank. Homeowners are little more than flies in this reeking, moneymaking ointment.

Anyway, there was an offer extended on my house by a potential buyer. Pretty damn low, but that’s a short sale for you. Looked iffy, but then the bank accepted. And the servicer accepted. Everyone is happy.

Except PMI. They want forty grand. They so funny. This is not abnormal, Flysters. They just want money, because that’s what they do. Makes sense: love it or hate it, this is a business.

So I responded: “Fuck you.” I didn’t really say that, exactly, but it was surprisingly well received. They countered by saying “Well…how about twenty five grand?”

And I said “How about…three?”

Ah, the subtleties and vagaries of negotiation, an ego-fuelled dance betwixt a guy who wants this, another who wants that, and all the saber-rattling, chest-beating, tooth-baring grindhouse drama one could ask for meantime.

Oddly, I am told they may accept the three thousand dollar offer. Strange world, this.

The end days, that’s what I have ahead of me: it’s like living with a loved one with cancer, day in and out wondering when you’re going to have your heart broken, then realizing the loved one is really just your sworn enemy, a vicious darkling, and finding one’s self wanting the clock to just fucking stop going around and suffer whatever lumps as they come.

Bring it on, this end. On June 19, 2009, I was released from my contract with Wachovia Bank and escorted to the door with letters of recommendation in hand and pats on my back for all my good work, another nameless layoff nominee in the halcyon days of the still-not-over Banking failure insanity. Today is April 14, 2011: 664 days have passed and we’re still wondering when someone is going to stick the knife in, and how deep they’ll push it. But the end is here, none too soon.

Original Proodie Dickheadery here.


Dear Prudence,
I'm engaged to a sweet, funny, and attentive guy, whom I love very much. He's a very picky eater. He knows it's a problem but doesn't do anything to work on it. I'm concerned that later he'll suffer the consequences of eating fried foods and no vegetables. The refusal to eat like a grownup is a turn-off, childish and stubborn. His eating habits severely limit where we eat out. I love him and don't want to make him feel embarrassed or pressured, but his picky eating is starting to grate on me. What should I do?
—Fed Up

Dear Controlling Bitch,

One: read your name, the one I gave you. There.

Two: if your cardiac arrest nominee is only interested in eating crap, that’s his prerogative and not yours, despite your feelings for him.

Three: if his eating habits are starting to grate on you, when the fuck is he going to do when you start finding out about his bathroom, porn, and nose-picking habits?

He’s probably better off dead and single than in your clutches.

Meanwhile, the rest of us might take notice of what our date-partners might eat, wouldn’t have made it past that dating stage if diet were an issue like this. Wakey wakey!


Dear Prudence,
I'm graduating from medical school next month, and I called my older brother to invite him and his wife to the graduation ceremony. He told me that they had already scheduled a trip to Mexico for that weekend. I'm feeling very slighted and hurt. Am I overreacting? What should I say to him?
—Hurt Doctor

Dear Doctor Pain,

One: your brother is a selfish fuckhead. You actually needed me to tell you that?

Two: congratulations on that whole medical school thing – tough road, huh?

Three: with his asshole attitude and your newfound surgical skill, you might just whip out the emotional scalpel and sever ties with the asswipe.

The rest of us already knew all this, and agree you’re stupid.


Dear Prudence,
A dear friend invited me to join her for Easter Sunday. She invited a former friend of mine. Last year I underwent treatment for cancer, and he never once offered to help me. I told him how disappointed I was. If I attend this Easter dinner, I will feel quite awkward. I've already committed to going, but I do not relish attending an event with a painted-on smile and false sense of camaraderie. What do you recommend?
—Not Inclined

Dear Little Miss Frowny Face,

One: don’t fucking go, okay?

Two: if your friend asks why, how about you tell her?

Three: maybe she’ll un-invite this guy and everything’s fixed!

The rest of us are pleased your chemo and surgery are behind you, but wonder if they removed whatever it was that ever gave you the nerve to speak up, and a part of your brain as well.


Dear Prudence,
Ever since my husband and I got married my father-in-law has sent me a card with money in it for my birthday. He's a sweet man, but I cannot understand is why he always gives me $20 less than he gives my husband. I know this sounds extremely petty. I've thought about asking my father-in-law if I have ever done something to offend him, but my husband requests that I just leave things alone and not create a problem where there is none. What do you think?
—Confused Daughter-in-Law

Dear Hated Daughter-In-Law,

One: this is not only a slight, dickface. He’s also letting Boy Wonder know he’s on top. Dads, sons, all that. Welcome to the family, haggis-face.

Two: on the off chance this IS a slight, it’s because you’re such a fussy little bitch.

Three: I’d give you $50 less.

The rest of us might not give you any money at all, and maybe not even a card.


My wife and I, inveterate back yard patio sitters, have taken to sitting together in the evenings after I get home from work and she school, and having a beer together. We don’t talk nearly enough lately, but she graduates three weeks from today, and thus ends four years of watching the back of her blonde head toss and bob down the hallway to disappear into the bedroom for peace and quiet while she studies.

I’ve missed her a lot.

I stopped by the store today for two big fat bottles of stout from a local brewery, which will go into the freezer for twenty minutes or so when I get home, and another day ends with a bit of quiet. When a day ends and you aren’t dead, you win, right?

Cheers, Flysters.
STC =^oo^=


  1. Hey, Schuyler, great to see you.
    Congrats on the graduation in law, and a Pox on the entire Mortgage Industry.
    (Saw a cute little 1000 foot, two bed, two bath condo yesterday, with train noise and everything, going for 565,000. Didn't have the ol' checkbook with me...)

    What is with these people? Here's what I have to say to them: They Don't Owe You That.
    Controlling Bitch, If this is a dealbreaker for you, why did you say yes to the engagement? Do his eating habits say something terrible about you? Are you signing up to be this guy's mother? With or without his consent? Either way--he doesn't owe you that.
    Doctor Pain, Your brother and his wife don't run their vacation schedule around your plans? They Don't Owe You That. Don't try so hard--let them come to you if they feel like it. You have what you really need, already.

  2. Whiny pants, your dear friend has issued a nice invitation, and you have accepted. Suck it up and go--she doesn't owe you veto power over the guest list.
    As for your former friend, did he screw you over or just let you down? Maybe He Didn't Owe You what you thought he did, just because you got hideously sick.
    High Road, High Road, deary.
    "Hey, nice to see you. Much better, thanks, how have you been?" See how easy??

    And Confused, Baby, "but my husband requests that I just leave things alone and not create a problem where there is none." At least one of you is smart enough to be allowed out of the house. You, a mere in-law-for-the-moment, get 80% of what the flesh and blood son gets, and you think that's not enough? He Doesn't Owe You That, honey. Please, listen to the husband. If he has to pay you the twenty bucks out of his pocket, he's not going to be your husband for long.


  3. When I get all my ego washed and clean and run for president, this shall be my campaign slogan: "They Don't Owe You That!"

    BP executives - you haven't quite paid that entire $20BBN we levied against you to the Gulf. That performance bonus you whined about? They don't owe you that!

    Executive Board of Citigroup - you participated in the decimation of the entire global economy. Performance bonus paid with TARP money? They don't owe you that!

    So many useful ways to apply these six brilliantly arranged words. Thanks!

    BTW - I always wanted to ask: is your screen name a question, as in "Cantahamster...get a little respect?" or something like that? I always picture it with a question mark after...

  4. Oh, and Charlie Sheen? They don't owe you that!

    It's a hybrid geographical reference, definitely declarative.
    My buddies back in Birmingham call it the 'ham, just to be cool, and I'm definitely a 'hamster; but I'm also a Cantabridgian, because wouldn't you know that people who live in Cambridge would find a way to say so in Latin.
    Ex-pats and hybrids run in the family, in a pleasant way.


  5. Congratulations on getting your wife back soon. No, I know you never technically lost her and that she's been with you the whole time, but she's been having to concentrate - hard - on her studies while you dealt primarily with little incidentals, like dealing with your magnificent children and having your house repoed.

    My husband empathizes with you. While he was my biggest cheeerleader while I was in school, he was noticeably relieved when it was all over. For all the good it's done me.

  6. Hi Schuyler, missed last week's (or is it this week's? What day is it anyway?) letters. Had back surgery on Thursday the 15, I remember this clearly and it couldn't have been a whole week ago yet, could it? Those damn pain pills fuzzy up my mind and don't even take care of the ouchies. Well I'm trying not to be a whimp. My goal is to resume my soccer (really football in civilized countries( career by next Sunday (and will next Sunday be? Hmmm?). Alternatively I could fly over (my walker has helicopter thingies on top of it) to your patio and chit chat with Mr and Mrs Cat, the later soon to graduate with flying honors (I might let her take my walker up for a flight even!)

    I don't like stout though, except for cooking, but then I was brought up in Belgium where we were served "table beer" in the school cafeteria... (table beer is not supposed to be as strong as regular Belgian beer but it did make the little ones a bit tizzy.... So I'll have to toast ya'll with some sort of chocolate drink and congratulate the beautiful new graduate!

    I love the quote at the beginning....too true too true!