Thursday, December 26, 2019

debt paid

For the longest time, I had a file on Google Docs titled "Creditors." This was a list of people to whom I owed money—people who had spotted me a few hundred bucks here and there to help me out. As I paid these good people back, I wrote "PAID" by their names to indicate the status of the debt. I hadn't opened that file in years, and when I opened it last night, I saw that there was only one unpaid debt left: W980,000 to Kent Davy. My guts twisted, and a wave of sadness swept over me. Kent passed away in July of this year, and as a symbolic gesture at the memorial service, I left a million won in a white envelope to be used by his daughter, who is attending a rather expensive Ivy League school. Kent's wife, shocked at the amount, wrote me a thank-you-but-why email, to which I responded with the story of how Kent had, years ago, paid me W980,000 for proofreading work that I never did for him. I was supposed to look over some research paper that he'd been writing for a course he'd been taking—something about Korean history. I never got the paper; Kent must have written it and submitted it without needing to show it to me. Anyway, when I mentioned to Kent that I'd been paid for doing zero work, he shrugged and told me to keep the money; he might need me to do some task that would be worth about a million won. Years passed, and the debt faded into history. Then Kent died, and I suddenly had a reason to gather up the funds and give them to his family. I'm sure Kent's daughter will find a good use for the money. Textbooks and food are both expensive where she is, so if 800 or so bucks can help defray the cost of living, then I'll have done some good. It's just too bad that I couldn't pay Kent back directly.

Epilogue: I've deleted the "Creditors" file. All personal debts are now paid.


John Mac said...

I think you paid that debt forward in a manner that would have pleased Kent much more than having the money repaid in the traditional way. Well done!

Daniel said...

Debt free!