I Just Called to Say…


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Several years ago my favorite uncle Roberto was in a bit of a jackpot. Not the kind where you win money, that’s the dictionary definition. Rather it was the opposite. The slang definition that means you’re in a bad spot.

Apparently, he had miscalculated on a few horse races and found himself short of cash and he didn’t have to heart to tell his wife, my Aunt Rita. He thought it best to keep it quiet and not upset her. He opted for a payday loan from Etna instead.

It was a good solution except that in order to get the loan he needed a cosigner. And so he asked my mother Vicenza to co-sign. Mom had no problem co-signing but she swore Roberto to secrecy. No sense having Rita mad at them both.

My mother knew that Roberto would bear the brunt of Rita’s anger for asking her to co-sign. Better to keep it between them.

Now everything would have been just fine, if Roberto didn’t have a hot streak at the racetrack. He hit the jackpot (the good kind).

With money in his pocket, he wanted  to maximize his investment. So he only made regular steady payments to Etna while using the extra money to fund more trips to the track. He was sandbagging.

Things were going just fine. In fact, Etna was so pleased with him as a customer, they wanted to grant him additional credit. Well back in those days, they didn’t send you an email they called your house.

And guess who answered the phone on the day Etna called the house. That’s right, my Aunt Rita.

My uncle was once again in a jackpot but not the kind he wanted.

When he walked into the kitchen after work that day, my aunt mentioned he had a phone call.

“Oh, who was it?” He asked.

“You’re Aunt Etna,” she said.

“What did she want,” he gulped.

“She said you ‘finished in the money‘.” Then she held out her hand, and my uncle filled it with all of his winnings.

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