For those who follow this blog, and for the surprisingly large number of readers who took an interest in my Apple Card Saga (as I am now going to be calling it), there has been an update. More specifically: I got one.
How? Well, the answer is just as absurd as everything else involving credit scores that I’ve written about. It’s also pretty nuanced and I’m bored of writing about this because there’s nothing I can do to change reality, so I’ll just give you, my dear readers, the short version.
Upon reading my articles, an ex of mine reached out to let me in on a little tidbit I’d been unaware of. You see, some years ago, when we were an item, they’d opened a credit card and I had been an authorized purchaser on it, because it seemed silly for both of us to open credit lines to purchase furniture and stuff for the new apartment we were sharing. It was certainly handy for us to be able to go to separate stores to get the things we needed — divide-and-conquer, as they say — which meant having two cards was better than one.
We split up amicably when her life took her out of the country for work and I wasn’t really able to join her. Cue the waterworks; I know. But we’re still in touch and it was terrific of her to reach out and let me know that actually I was still on her account, and that she’d recently taken a jumbo-sized credit line expansion.
Put simply, although it wasn’t showing up on the versions of the credit reports *I* had access to, it would seem as though the super-secret version of the report that only people “in the industry” can get was showing that I was now in possession of substantially more potential purchasing power than I really was. Well, technically yes, I could have used the card, but it was more of an oversight on our part in not taking me off the account than it was me actually being aware I even had access to that line. The card itself has been sitting in a shoebox with other expired cards for who knows how long.
Also, interestingly, this giant credit expansion she’d gotten wasn’t showing up in my report, because I guess the news hadn’t reached them or something. Who knows? If it had, I certainly would have been aware of the extra digits added to the “credit utilization” section.
Then, two months after we’d had me removed as an authorized buyer, the card dropped off my account reports altogether and I thought hey, what the heck, let’s give this a whirl again. Lo and behold, I was approved.
So that’s that, all wrapped up nice and tidy with a little bow.
Does it change the fact that these reports are totally useless to consumers? No. It also doesn’t change any of the arguments I’ve made in previous posts. The only thing that’s changed is that someone from my past called me up to tell me about something we’d both forgotten about and it turns out had been artificially (and rather dramatically, as it turns out) lowering my credit score.
I’m done and over it. Nothing I can write is going to alter financial policy, or the absurd metrics they use, or the preposterous nightmare of a system that generates those quantities.
If it looks like I’m quitting after I got what I wanted, then I’ve given the wrong impression. My initial series of posts was never intended to imply that I was trying to change anything, it was merely my attempt to poke fun at and draw attention to a stupid system. I’d already given up on getting a card, I was just reflecting on the silliness of everything.
Out of nowhere, new information came to light, and changed some things, and now I’ve got the card as the result of a sarcastic application to see if things were really as dumb as I thought they were.
It transpired that they absolutely were, still are, and will continue to be — entirely regardless of whether or not I continue writing quasi-popular things about it on the web.
I have bigger fish to fry, both in my own life and in the world around me. There are things in the world that I have the power to improve and I’d rather focus my time and energy on those, than on a quixotic rant about something it appears nobody actually takes that seriously to begin with.
In other news!
If you’re waiting on that series about anarchy to come around, you may have to wait longer than expected. This is for two reasons:
(1) I have come to the conclusion that there is a lot of nuance in anarchic principles that I need to be sure to emphasize when I’m writing about it in relation to the scientific community.
Many terrific readers wrote to me to point out some of these nuances and I want to make sure they’re addressed. For example, the incredibly outsized role that academic publishers (all two of them) wield in effectively restricting the flow of information between individuals and institutions is something worth taking a deeper look at. While they’re not technically a de facto form of power structure within the realm of science, they do work like one; and moreover, they are able to leverage the ones that do exist within the nations of the world to ensure their power is never challenged. Look at sci-hub, for instance.
Thus, I need to reformulate my reasoning a bit, because while I stand behind what I said in my “inaugural” post (if you can call it that, which you probably can’t), I never brought up as well as I could have that the anarchic basis of the scientific world is a consideration I’m trying to have, more or less, in a vacuum. i.e. — in the absence of like, how things have actually play out in the real world.
(2) I have a lot going on in my personal life right now, including starting a startlingly perfect new career in … well, in applied science. I won’t get into those details, but I’m really chuffed to bits that I found a position a few months ago that fits my past experience to a T, and which has the additional benefit of being something that I am wildly passionate about doing for a living, in a field that I’m excited about because it has real-world implications that will improve quality of life for everyone.
Oh, and I’m really good at it, so basically it’s the trifecta.
Being able to be a tiny part of this and contribute to the state-of-the-art is pretty humbling, and don’t think that the immense privilege of being able to earn a living doing something I love is lost on me. I’m already looking for ways to pay it forward.
Hence, especially given item (1) this isn’t something I can just serialize into a series of short posts, getting to individual concepts along the way as time permits, because it turns out I have to revise a lot of things. Actually, it may even turn out that I was … dare I say it? Wrong.
I need to have a good long think, and as much as I enjoy doing that, right now I have a lot of things that are more pressing and I’m afraid I simply can’t dedicate the time that the research and consideration would require. Once all the things in item (2) have resolved themselves into some semblance of normalcy, I will return to this project and hopefully have something worthwhile to say on the subject.
In the meantime — and also in response to some of the other messages I have gotten from, shall we say, enthusiastic readers — I would like to emphasize the following:
Anarchy IS NOT chaos! If you interpreted what I’ve written as some justification for tearing everything down for some reason, then you’ve missed the point entirely.
More simply put: while anarchy is a good thing, actually, there’s a solid chance that the anarchy I’m talking about isn’t the one you’re thinking of. I highly suggest reading up on the topic on Wikipedia. It’s a lot, but everything worth learning about takes a little effort.
Finally, in relation to this blog overall, I think you’ll find that while the pace of posts will be picking up again, they won’t be coming as quickly as a few months ago.
I’ve been away because I simply haven’t had the time. Now that things are settling into a semblance of normalcy, I will be able to dedicate some time to writing again.
I hope you’ll stick with me through all this. There’s great content coming, I promise. Just don’t judge the future on this post — I banged it out in a few minutes because I wanted to get everyone in the loop.
Oh, and I forgot to say this at the appropriate time, so here goes:
To all my readers (and everyone, really) — may 2021 be happier and healthier than 2020 was, and my personal best wishes to us all. Zei gezunt!