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Humor March 2014

Strictly Humor

The Afterlife Credit Line

By B. Elwin Sherman

You state that the interest rate for my introductory purchase is “0.00000 percent.” Good for another good guffaw, if you’re attempting to indicate that a mere five zeroes constitutes infinity. What rookies.

Dear Chase Crook & Ketchum Credit Card Company: In today’s mail, I received an invitation to sign up for your new credit card. I should say that my humor columnist husband B. Elwin Sherman received it, addressed to me, because I stopped sending and getting mail in April of 2012 when I passed away. Apparently, somewhere in your indiscretionary mad marketing database, you missed that little detail.

I do, however, appreciate your consideration of including a special reservation number and access code assigned to me alone, but I must tell you that I no longer need reservations or codes. Wherever I exist now, my space is always reserved and I have free access to everything.

Pretty cool, eh? And, speaking of temperature, you have my sympathies, because I know that you’re not the only entity having problems distinguishing between what the federal government calls the “living dead” and the “dead living.” Millions of dollars were wrongly paid out (or not) to both of these groups last year, and one aid program spent nearly four million dollars on the heating and/or air conditioning bills of dead people.

And, because of the bureaucratic snafus common in such government enterprises, the air conditioning bill payments were sent to Heaven, and the heating bill money went straight to Hell. I might suggest that you send your generous offer to both God and Satan, who could each respectively use a good and evil line of credit about now.

I’ll leave Elwin with the stick-‘em-up choice of your money or your afterlife. He holds with Mark Twain, who refused to commit to either Paradise or Perdition “because I have friends in both places.”

But, let’s look at your offer: You would charge me “No annual fee.” Sorry, but this is meaningless to me as an eternity dweller, where every second is indistinguishable from an eon.  You would grant me “Zero percent APR” for a year, after which my rate “will increase to 22.9 percent.” Again, having no time constraints where I currently reside, I might not be your most preferred customer. As for the 22.9 percent interest rate, well, let’s just say that I know of many applicants who operated such greedy business practices on earth, and they were not only denied admittance here, but were cast into the nether regions before they even reached the front gates.
You also offer me “A higher credit line after making your first five monthly payments on time.” I suspect that this is to insure that I will use said increased credit to rack up a hefty debt by the time my interest rate shoots to loan shark proportions.

As noted above, this is not only a temporal miscalculation, but I have a limitless supply of silver bricks and gold cobblestones at my disposal, and now that I think about it, that’s probably why you’ve targeted me for this higher line of credit, despite my ethereal unaccountability.   

You must also accept that when it comes to levels of ascension, you’re rank amateurs in defining what constitutes “higher.” Trust me, I’m as high as I’ll ever need to be.

You guarantee me “Zero dollar liability” if my card is ever lost or stolen. I haven’t laughed so hard all week (or was that an era?). Here, I have no possessions except these wings, and should one break off, it would grow back immediately. There are also no thieves here, but you might check with your brethren in that other place.

You state that the interest rate for my introductory purchase is “0.00000 percent.” Good for another good guffaw, if you’re attempting to indicate that a mere five zeroes constitutes infinity. What rookies.

My last laugh comes from your inclusive offer to choose my own card design. You show me serene scenes of flying eagles, tropical sunsets, starry nights, full-blooming roses, and dolphins leaping in sunrise, any of which I may choose as my credit card tableau.

Why should I immortalize these things on plastic, which doesn’t exist here, when I’m surrounded by them whenever I wish?

Well, I’m kidding about all this, of course. After all, I was happily married to B. Elwin Sherman, and I couldn’t boast that privilege without having been a fun-loving consumer, but I’m gone from your material world of grub and grab, and live on now only in his fond memory of me, where no maximum credit ever comes due, and no minimum debit is ever needed.

At the end of your letter, I see in your Frequently Asked Questions list where customers want to know if and when you can change their account terms. You reply: “We will send you notice before doing so.” For Elwin’s sake, I’d be in your debt (the whole point of your solicitation) if you’d kindly check the forwarding address first.

Eternally mine, Judith.


B. Elwin Sherman writes from Bethlehem, N.H. His new book, Walk Tall And Carry A Big Watering Can, is now available. You may contact him via his blog at

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