This gag is actually an old joke of the Rabbit’s. We used to laugh so hard. What’s the worst thing that could happen if you default on your student debt? You can’t, as the expression goes, get blood from a stone. You can, however, get it from a head wound. But despite the central premise of The Merchant of Venice, there’s really no meaningful gain to taking a financial obligation out of a human body.
This comic is for the many, many people I’ve watched claw their way out (or not) of the rough burlap sack of the lowest levels of academia. The ivory tower is a sink or swim proposition. At this point, I don’t know that many people who are still adjuncting–most of them have gotten tenure track jobs or gone into some other lines of work–but I do know a few, and at one point I knew dozens. It’s basically thankless, low paying work that people do in the hopes that it will lead to more prestigious work with better pay and also job security, but it only works out that way for a select few.
Aside from The Man’s largesse and faith in me, one of the reasons I am able to do what I do is that I never had any student loans, since I am essentially 1 1/2 steps away from being a trust fund hippie. I mean, I don’t have the cash, but I do have the safety net. But I have friends who have been making well over their minimum payment for over a decade. I have friends who have been paying the same undergraduate education off for almost 2 decades. It’s crippling. You could get a mortgage in some parts of the country for what some people pay every month for the privilege of education.
In some places, it’s considered a right.
You can run. You can hide. But you can’t escape Sallie Mae and Freddie Mac. Or Dr. Biff and the Brain Repo Man.