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Suzuki Samurai

It was the middle of the Eighty’s. Reagan was in office, big business was on the assault from corporate raiders, and the hot fashion trend was parachute pants. As a young adult in college, I joined the pop-culture lifestyle with the purchase of a Suzuki Samurai. For those you don’t’ remember, they were these square little boxes with an overgrown motorcycle engine that looked like a child’s version of a jeep. Funny looking they might have been, but they sure were fun.

I came home one evening and parked my little toy-jeep in front of my apartment complex. The next morning I headed out and made a horrible discovery. Somebody else also really liked my toy-jeep, it was gone – it had been stolen. I tried not to panic. I walked around the block just to make sure I was mistaken about were I parked it. Nope, it was gone. When I called the police, they said they have so many stolen car reports they were not even going to send out a unit. They took my information over the phone and told me they’d mail me out a report.
I called my insurance company and the loan institution. The loan institution was less than helpful. I tried my best to find out what should I do about the remaing balance on my loan. The lender suggested that I pay just the interest on the loan and they would just extend the loan period each time. After several months of payments, the insurance company paid off the principle of the loan. Unbeknownst to me, the lender had calculated the loan amount, basing the interest on the entire length of the loan, so even though the principle was paid, according to their records, there was still a hefty amount due. This just didn’t’ seem right to me, I was paying interest on a loan that had no principle – there was nothing to accrue interest against. I fought and fought and fought with the lender about this. In the end, I had to have a lawyer intercede on my behalf.

Now I know what you are thinking, or at least I think I do. If the insurance paid off the principle on the stolen car, what did I do about a replacement vehicle? I went to the place most college students go for the down payment for a car. That’s right, banko-de-parentos.

My mom could not be reached for comment, and my father wins the award for “worst parent in a crisis” award. His reaction was one of great indifference. When I finally pressured him about helping me in some fashion his response was that he would be more than willing to help co-sign for a car loan, IF I dropped out of college and got a real job. His definition of a real job was one that put callouses on your hands.
In the end, my grandfather came through, he scraped up every dime he had, and bought me a used jeep.

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