Saturday, February 11, 2023

Fine Print

 It’s how they get you; it always has been. The fine print, the details, those thirty-seven pages of small print that explains why money isn’t free, and how you’re expected to pay more than what you received to finance that super cool jet ski even though you live in the Mojave, in a forty-year-old airstream camper, with your three-legged dog Skip.

Their job is to get you to sign on the dotted line, then profit from your inability to curb your need for instant gratification. Why do you think banks have such nice buildings? It’s not magnanimity or selflessness that made them billions and billions of dollars; it’s people’s gullibility and their reticence in reading the fine print.

It’s the old adage of people buying things they don’t need with money they don’t have, but that’s why they invented credit and credit cards. Sometimes you know offhand that an individual is prone to making bad life choices when they’re driving a six-figure car but have only one tooth. Priorities, priorities.

People have even gone to court over the details of contracts, especially when it comes to timeshares. Apparently, it’s one of those things you pass down to your kids and grandkids at infinitum, with them having to pay some sort of fee every month even though they just found a decapitated human head floating in the pool of the timeshare you belong to. A contract’s a contract, and you should have read the fine print; now pay up. Was all that really worth the free portable television back in the 90s?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been burned so many times by people eager to help me out that I’m always looking for the hidden catch, the trap door, the club behind the back that they’ll start swinging as soon as I let my guard down. Yes, it’s a harrowing way to live, but as George Bush tried saying once, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

When it comes to what God says, I’m not looking for the fine print because there isn’t any. That in itself is refreshing. It’s like a breath of fresh air after you’ve spent a day in a mine choking on dust and stale sweat. God is direct, clear, and forthright; when He speaks a thing, He means the thing He speaks. We don’t have to wonder or guess at what He said; we must simply obey and see the fulfillment of His promises.

We cannot project the same weariness toward God as we do toward people trying to sell us something. We cannot question intent or motive when He speaks, nor should we worry about some as yet unseen ulterior motive. God doesn’t play games the way men do, and He’s never asked you to pick up your phone, dial that number, and make the biggest love offering you can. It’s got to be sacrificial if you want it to work, after all.

Whenever I encounter people who insist that God failed them, my first question is whether they did what God told them to do. Were they obedient in both the great things and the small, or did they talk themselves into believing that He would be okay with half-measures? Some drawn-out explanation always precedes their answer as to why they couldn’t be in full compliance with the will of God or why their obedience was only superficial but trying to justify it doesn’t take away from the fact that there was no obedience.

If your doctor prescribes you heart medication, but you don’t take it and end up in the emergency room, it’s not your doctor’s fault. He did his part; he told you what you needed to do in order to keep from clawing at your chest and feeling as though an elephant was sitting on you. You chose not to follow through. You chose not to take your medication and must now suffer the consequences of your actions.

I have gout. My grandfather had it too. This was before the time of full panel bloodwork and other such things, and so his doctor said it was arthritis and did not discourage him from eating the things that could trigger a gout flare-up. It was a Romanian doctor, at least, he said he was a doctor. It was California in the late eighties, we were poor, and you could get a consult for twenty bucks cash.

Although he never prescribed my grandfather any meds, he said he could, but always reminded him that they were cheaper in Mexico. It’s odd the things you look back on and find terribly suspicious with the benefit of hindsight.

I got my first physical a couple of years back because my little brother kept insisting on it. Other than discovering I was one of those rare specimens whose overall health is counter to his Rubenesque physical appearance, I was informed there was a medication that would counter the uric acid buildup in my joints that were the cause of the gout attacks.

I then had a choice to make. Take the meds, or don’t. Because I’m not a fan of pain, I took the meds for a few days, but they made me feel funny and a bit off. Because I didn’t like the way they made me feel, I made the choice to stop taking them and attempt to control the gout through diet alone. It’s worked thus far, I haven’t had a flare-up in ages, but if I do, I can’t go to my doctor waving my finger in his face accusing him of being a quack. The choice was mine, as were the consequences thereof.

I cannot blame God for my failures when I would have been spared them had I been obedient to Him. I cannot place blame at His feet when it was my having chosen to ignore His guidance that brought me to this place.

With love in Christ, 

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

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