More than meets the eye: New Yorker satire closer to truth

“Pay Off Your Student Debt in Three Easy Lifetimes” advertises a recent satirical piece by Colin Nissan in The New Yorker’s recent August issue that follows a Q&A interview between an outraged interviewer and a calm expert on this new software program for student loan debt. The conversation winds around this bizarre solution to debt where private lenders will continue to bill your reincarnated self after you die by “giving you two more lifetimes to pay it off”. 

The conversation follows the practicality of this program, like if the borrower comes back as an animal: “The truth is that you’re about as likely to pay off your loan as a horse as you are in your current incarnation, so we’ll take our chances. Q: What if I actually pay off my loan before I die, in this life? A: Oh my God, that’s adorable.”

As funny and cynical as this conversation is, it highlights a bleak reality where private lenders will relentlessly try to get payments on student loan debt, sometimes even being accused of predatory practices. A previous New York Times article reported how NJHESAA will charge the co-signer of the loan debt in the event that the borrower dies before repaying the loan. Co-signers on student loan debts are more often than not the parents of the borrower, and so they get no relief during in their time of grief. Even in death, some people cannot escape the overwhelming amount of student loan debt that millions struggle to repay, often falling behind to high interest rates or mitigating circumstances.

In a way, student loan debt has already been haunting generations of people, so who’s to say we’re not far off from reincarnation software, no longer living as idealistic college graduates but work horses running around a never ending track.


Image Credit: Luci Gutiérrezfrom The New Yorker