There is in all of us I think a tension between sharing something wonderful and keeping it secret inside you so you can enjoy it on your own. I once hid from friends and family the fact that I was watching and enjoying Friday Night Lights, because I wanted it to be mine alone. I’ve refused to explain where exactly a restaurant is to avoid diluting the pleasure it gives me with someone else’s. But eventually, my desire to keep all joys to myself is overpowered by wanting everyone else to be happy, and I reveal the existence of the pizza place that doesn’t actually have a street address, just a random intersection where you pick it up like a drug deal.
My most recent discovery is entirely credit score related—perhaps not as exciting as pizza drug deals, but also maybe for some of you, far MORE exciting. A few Saturdays ago I was checking my credit score. You know, basic Saturday shit. I was looking to see how much it had improved in the two years since I last fucked it up.
In 2011, I made a late payment on a credit card bill. Or, if we’re being more accurate, I did NOT make a late payment, twice. The bill was for 12 dollars, then 25 or so, seeing as the only thing I was paying for was my monthly Netflix service. I’d switched Netflix over to my credit card when my debit was reported stolen—heaven forbid I not be able to watch every episode of Veronica Mars at a moment’s notice! But I didn’t use the credit card much, and didn’t realize you have to click “Confirm” like a hundred (3) times in order for a payment to go through. I wish I could say I realized my mistake, but I didn’t—I did the same thing the next month. By the time I realized what had happened, I had a 60-day-late payment and a 100 point drop in my credit score.
I called the bank and they said it was illegal for them to do anything about this. So I just sadly waited for my credit to get better, paying every other bill on time. Two years later: 60 points better, but still lower than before my mistake.
This is where the internet comes in. Googling around led to some really (REALLY) serious debt-relief forums, where people talk about how hard they work to get their credit better, and I started seeing references to “GW letters.” This, it turns out, means “Goodwill”—basically, asking the bank to be nice to you. Since banks are huge, the forum-goers recommended sending a letter every six months and hoping you get lucky. But buried deep in the bowels of a thread on how to write to Bank of America was someone suggesting actually contacting the office of the CEO of the company.
Ten minutes later, I have drafted an email to Brian Moynihan using an easily-googled email address. It seemed presumptuous—but then, also, OBVIOUSLY a bank CEO is gonna have a whole team of people who just hand-filter emails for him. Once you’re rich enough, you never have to see dick pill spam again. Which is maybe enough motivation to fix your credit.
I squeezed my eyes shut and hit send. It felt like something from a shitty sitcom, or maybe from a Medieval fable about a peasant petitioning a king. But I did it anyway. And two days later, a very nice lady for the Office of the CEO and President (Urgent Customer Relations Division) called me—on the PHONE, even!—and said she’d be researching my case.
Three days after that, she called again to tell me two things. One: That Bank of America was telling all the credit agencies that I was not delinquent, thus fixing my credit. (My silent response: A sort of whooping of delight.) And two: That she was very excited to see in my email signature that I am an animator by trade, and wanted to know if I’d worked at Disney. (My silent response: A sort of affectionate eye-rolling.) We chatted about my job, and then I hung up and pulled my credit report again. And in a week, my score went up 40 points.
So while I’d love to keep the wonderful Urgent Customer Relations Division a secret to myself, the fact is my credit isn’t even that bad—maybe yours is! Maybe you should just google Brian Moynihan’s email address and see if they can’t help you. If you do, you are allowed to look him in his eyes—but do not touch the hem of his sable cloak, or his guards will drag you away.
Christian Brown doesn’t work at Disney.