Thursday, July 28, 2005

Novena to Our Lady of MasterCard

I thought my relationship with MasterCard ran deeper than the meagre considerations of "money." MasterCard, have your thirty pieces of silver, I don't care! But you lead me on, sending mail addressing me as "Dear Valued Customer." My parents and wife don't even address me in so intimate a manner. But you do, and I enjoyed it -- while it lasted.

Now your robotic voice calls me daily. A robot with a British accent, no less. How can a robot have a British accent? It's so strange. Doubtless the product of credit card Psy-ops programs and experimentation. Maybe one day I'll answer the phone to the sort of Tibetan chanting that U.S. marines used to goad Manuel Noriega out of the Vatican embassy in Panama City in the early 1990s. It seems anything is possible.

One afternoon, a week ago, an actual person called me on behalf of MasterCard. However, they asked for "Minatar Starmand." I'm a bastard about this -- if people telephoning me can't get my name right, I tell they have the wrong number. While toying with them, of course.

"Ah, no," I said, "no Edgar Bergen here, sorry."

The befuddled human voice that was strangely without accent, said, "No, I'm looking for a Mr. Eknid Rainermond."

"No, sorry," I said, "no Ed Comartin here."

"I'm not --" the real voice said. "May I please speak to Artineau Stainamond?"

"No, sorry," I said, "no Remark Automaton here. Have a nice day." And I slammed the fucking phone down.

MasterCard, it's like you don't even know me!

If I'm not mistaken, MasterCard, your name was once MasterCharge. I was only a child, but I recall that. I have the feeling that you changed your name in order not to remind "valued customers" what they were doing with your card -- charging.

And charging is such an apt word, adjective, description for what "valued customers" are doing with their credit cards. We're charging and charging with them. Charging up a storm. As the recipient of numerous monthly mailings from MasterCard, I took my role as "valued customer" very seriously, using my MasterCard to hone and shape my financial situation to best suit my desire to remain alive.

But what are we "charging" toward? Bankruptcy? Probably. But I think of the word "charging" in its imperical sense -- that I'm charging my own financial electric chair with my MasterCard. Charging and charging and charging. Charging with abandon, but not without thought or reflection or purpose.

However, charging, nonetheless.

And MasterCard, with its robotic British telephone calls is lusting after the day, the hour, the moment, when I will be forced to sit in the credit-charged electric chair, and it will throw the switch.


Robert F. Walsh said...


Got a great laugh out of this, especially the MaterCharge part!!

Whetam Gnauckweirst said...

If I didn't think it would land me in Guantanamo Bay, I would have simply summed up this entire blog entry by writing, "Exterminate all the brutes!"

RossK said...

My kid has a good way of dealing with both the accents and nonccents that call at dinnertime. When they ask for me or my wife she says just a minute.

Then she puts the phone down.

Then she picks it up about five minutes later and says....I'm on my way.

Her record is five pick-ups. 25 minutes of no phone calls - unless we're pretending to be french that pretty much gets us through to desert.