Note: The characters in this story are fictitious… but you might know them. They may be your siblings, your neighbours or your co-workers. They might even be you!
Part 2 (click here for Part 1):
Jordan’s dad had been battered and bruised by Debtzilla. He had almost given up and succumbed to the beast on many occasions. The future looked worse than bleak; it looked obsolete. Debtzilla kept squeezing him tighter and tighter until he felt like he couldn’t breathe. That was the monster’s trick – it attacked your hope and waited for you to give up. But Debtzilla knew it could be defeated…even if Jordan’s father didn’t believe it.
Christmas morning was the moment Jordan’s dad decided to fight back against Debtzilla. He had presided over a used artificial tree standing over a sad collection of newspaper wrapped gifts for his loved ones. No more, he thought, no more.
Jordan’s dad knew he couldn’t fight the beast alone so he gathered the family together early in the new year and explained their debt situation. He knew they would have to work together if they would ever be strong enough to overcome their tormentor. Jordan’s mom fought back tears as she learned the complete truth for the first time. But, after the initial shock, she composed herself and started making a plan.
Jordan would be eating homemade lunches from now on – no cafeteria food – and his daily can of soda from a machine at school would be replaced with a bottle of ice tea his mom would prepare each morning.
Jordan’s dad would have to sell one of his ill-advised purchases – a new pickup truck whose payments took a chunk of his paycheque each month – and start taking the bus to work.
And Jordan’s mom would cut down the family’s grocery bill each month by choosing generic over name brands and seeking out sales and discounted items whenever possible.
These sacrifices, Jordan’s mom explained, would be the first shots fired in their battle with Debtzilla.
They charged into their fight with cautious optimism. At first, it was tough to shake free of Debtzilla’s grip as his claws had dug deep into every facet of their lives. But each trip Jordan’s mom took to the grocery store armed with a purse full of coupons loosened his grip ever so slightly. And every time Jordan walked by that soda machine in the first floor hall, Debtzilla’s claws shrunk a bit in size. Jordan’s family gained a big boost of confidence, however, when the sale of their truck was finalized and the monster staggered backwards a step or two.
Their commitment to saving was as strong as the patriotism that wills a soldier forward in battle. Debtzilla could not combat their newfound zeal as his power came from his victim’s weakness – a weakness that was disappearing among Jordan’s family.
The final step in the battle for Jordan’s family was their attack on the monster’s stronghold – their accumulated debts. Debtzilla hid behind towering interest rates and thick walls of red tape. But the monster was on the defensive, and Jordan’s family knew it. They lobbed payments into his fortress with catapults of capital. They knocked down the main gate with a battering ram of payroll deductions and automatic payments.
Debtzilla watched as his kingdom crumbled around him. His imposing physique started to shrivel up and Jordan’s family wondered why they ever thought the monster was invincible.
As they stood atop the carcass of the defeated beast, Jordan’s family took stock of their situation. There were no more debt payments that siphoned off large chunks of their income, the phone had finally stopped ringing from persistent collection agencies, and the future actually looked bright.
They vowed to each other that even though they knew they could defeat Debtzilla, they would do their best to never fall under his control again. They would make saving a priority in their lives and avoid debt whenever possible. They’d pay for things in cash and live well within their means.
As they left the scene of their final battle heading north, they were filled with a sense of triumph. But, unbeknownst to them, Debtzilla started to regain his strength. He rose up from the fetal position as energy coursed through his veins. Eventually he stood and looked to the south. He had no power over Jordan’s family anymore but he could sense a disturbance just over the horizon. He started to walk, then to jog and finally he broke into a full sprint. Debtzilla was on his way to attack another Canadian family for as long as irresponsibility and overspending continue to exist, Debtzilla will never die – he’ll just move on to his next victim…