So, one of my acquaintances slash sort-of-friends from back in the college days works as a legbreaker in South Boston for the Irish mob. I guess you could call him a bill collector if you are feeling squeamish. To be fair, he wasn't a professional punisher when we first became friends, and it's not something that we talk about, really. We mostly talked about Irish history (he was a serious history buff) and bemoaned the slow pace of peace talks between Sinn Fein and the UK government, and how Margaret Thatcher needed to get out of office before there could be an end to violence (which turned out to be 100% correct!). Anyhow, it was more interesting than your usual bar conversation, so we ended up being drinking buddies for a while.
Anyhow, those days are long gone, but when we do talk now, a couple of times a year at most, it's just to make plans to meet for a drink and lament what needs lamenting.
So when I called last night to make plans to meet up for a pint and watch a soccer game on TV, we chitchatted, and he tells me that this economy 'is killing him.'
Apparently, the 'independent loan industry' is way down this quarter. People are reigning in spending, even illegal spending, apparently. Apparently, from what I gather, the only business out there for loan sharks is in the construction trades- keeping businesses afloat while waiting for customers to pay their bills.
So, maybe Chairman Obama is telling people to celebrate this week because unemployment rates didn't go up, but from the man on the street's perspective, times are still tough.
Oh, and my friend of sorts also tells me that it's no longer quite so easy to obtain an illegal loan, too. Even the loan sharks are denying credit these days. Small businesspeople, sure, but the unemployed get nothing. Apparently it's not worth working up a sweat by beating on someone if there's just no money in it.
What a world. Sometimes I feel like such an innocent. I can't even break the speed limit without getting guilt.