It’s Friday. You get off work at a way earlier-than-it-feels like 4:27 PM. And thank God. Really. TGIF means much, much more to you than it does to those 20-year olds without kids or real responsibilities, those who, when they say “TGIF,” mean “Yay, I can now go out drinking with my girlfriends!” Friday for you is payday.
And though something like 90% of your paycheck has already been promised to other people who have provided you the goods and services you and your little ones required to survive the preceding 13 days, it is still a relief to be able to actually pay those people off, and thereby guarantee their continued willingness to deal with you for the next 13 days. So as you’re thinking about how to spend the next 30 minutes in a manner that will avoid the most late fees and overdraft charges, and trying also to remember the exact amount of the phone bill so that you don’t get a late fee, and also don’t overpay them by too much, your eyes drop down to look at the check stub you got from Payroll. Even though you know that this check will be for the exact same $826 you’ve been bringing home biweekly since you first had to go back to work after your second child was born, you still have to look down and see the actual check.
Every human does this. Even blind people. You can’t not do it. It is so satisfying to see the money you’ve been paid. That reward for spending the greater portion of your very limited-in-number conscious hours doing the bidding of someone else, someone (or something, if your employer is a corporation) whose interests may very well be quite different from your own. It is not so much satisfying (though we talk and hear about the satisfaction of a hard day’s work, but in reality that sort of thing is just a linguistic holdover from the days when most of us were farmers and farmers’ wives, and the length and hardness of each day’s work bore an almost 100% directly proportional relationship to the reward of the work – back then, literally the “fruits of your labors.”) as it is relieving.
Because deep down you know that God did not place you – the sole and utterly unique version of you in the entire universe and its entire history – here on this specific place, on this specific speck in the universe, at this specific point in time, because he thought the world needed this particular unprecedented and unrepeated specimen of humanity to sit at a desk answering phone calls from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.
And because you know that those hours you spend slaving (quite literally, slaving, as in completely subordinating your own will to that of another) away for someone else are not your true calling and purpose, but really just a necessary compromise with the unfortunate fact that your presence in this universe requires a large amount of physical resources, resources you cannot produce on your own and therefore must somehow earn by subordinating yourself for large portions of your life to others, because you know this deep down, you must know that your daily sacrifice of self is at least getting you somewhere, right?
So you look down to confirm that this week, you’re getting the same $826 as you did 2 weeks ago, and then your eyes appear to be mistaken, but no, on second glance, they’re not mistaken, and what the fuck? $619.50? $206.50 to a “garnishment!” A GARNISHMENT? WHAT! THE! FUCK!
Yeah. You’ve been garnished. Out of nowhere. Somebody swooped in between you and your paycheck and took a chunk. Like a seagull with a pogey.
So then to your mind comes the #1 Question asked of lawyers everwhere: Can they do that?
Continue to Part 2: What is Garnishment? How do you get one?
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