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Biggest Idiot in The World

by J. Money on Wednesday, September 18, 2013

rear ended caddy dummy

Two days ago I backed into a car full-force while trying to move out of my parking space. I had shifted into reverse instead of drive for some dumb reason (we were on a STEEP incline and didn’t need to go back), and I slammed on the gas to quickly get outta there, only to go backwards at the speed of light and right into a semi-new (parked) minivan.

I’m the biggest idiot in the world :(

And to top it off, about 18 people had witnessed the entire thing with mouths wide open. Talk about embarrassing. So I got out as fast as I could to assess the damage and take pictures (my car: beat up and cracked bumper. Theirs: maybe a dent in the license plate?) and then quickly left a note under their wipers with my name and number so I could be all good Samaritan-like (as if I could get away with it anyways if I wanted to). Then I jumped back into the car and hightailed it right outta there – this time, going forward (!!!).

Seriously – who hits a park car??

And now – two days later – I go through the day on pins and needles just waiting to still get that call… My mind is racing a mile a minute:

  • Did they get my note??
  • Are they going to tear me a new one?
  • Did they notice any damage??? (I did barely, but it was still there)
  • Are they going to blame me for the scratches on the sides of their car too? (They had white brush marks on them which clearly weren’t mine. A) because my car is red, and B) because it was physically impossible for me to have hit them on the side when all I did was go directly backwards)
  • Are they gathering info and estimates and gonna call me with some alarmingly high bill??
  • Or was my note so genuine and good Samaritan-like, that they just thought “Aww, no problem. Stuff happens!” and that will be that?

I’m all alone with these thoughts over here, and it’s driving me mad. The only solace I have is telling myself that it’s a good thing I never fixed up my car after the last accident! Which is unfortunately then followed by – “Why didn’t you just sell it when you could??

I mean, what’s the worst that can happen, though? So they get mad and curse me out – I can handle that. (And wouldn’t they have already done that anyways by now??).  I pay my $200 deductible and my insurance premiums go up a little  – that sucks, but it’s not the end of the world. There’s no way I can be on the hook for hundreds (or thousands?) when insurance is involved, right? Like they can’t force me to settle outside of insurance or anything if I don’t want to, right? That would be bonkers. Oh man, what if they were in the mob and I get caught up in some crazy scheme because the dent reveals hidden drugs or bodies or something equally as scary!! OH. MY. GOOOOOOOOD!!!

Man I’m drama queen, haha… But seriously – the unknown is the worst. I once got a voice mail from an old friend who left the following message: “hey.. man…. not doing well… call me back..” All woozy like. I call back, get nothing. Call again – nothing. Again, and again and again over the span of 24 hours – nothing, nothing nothing. You know when people say “Oh don’t worry, I’m sure all will be fine”? Well, it’s times like these that make me doubt them now. My friend wasn’t okay – I found him later at the hospital.

In this case I’m 99% sure I WILL be okay, of course, but it still sucks not knowing the other side to the story. Very much like when people heavy in debt refuse to look at the actual numbers and their stress and madness eats them up the whole time imagining the worst possible cases they’re getting themselves in. And they could very well be accurate, but it’s amazing how much BETTER it feels just bracing and looking the numbers square in the eye. Isn’t this the part where that saying comes in? “You have to first admit you have a problem” before you can start being healed? Or getting your finances on track, as is this case?

Anyways, the point is, I want these people to call me ASAP. In fact, I’d rather them call me with bad news than have me wait weeks/months/years thinking everything is fine and forgotten and then BAM. Remember me?? You hit my car last year – pay up! Cuz really the only thing worse than not knowing right now is getting surprised later with cockamaimy news. It’s no fun I tell you, no fun…

(And another reason to return money that doesn’t belong to you – for all you new commenters on my old post about banks accidentally giving you some. You don’t want a surprise later once it’s all spent! And believe me, they WILL get their money back.)

I think I’ll stop there and go for a walk now before I hyperventilate… On the plus side, I found two more shiny coins yesterday on the streets (both nickels!!) and for a split second I floated back up to heaven ;) That’s a 25% bump in findings over the past 2 months mind you – pretty lucky!

I think I’ll play the Powerball tonight. I might need some extra cash if those mobsters come collecting.

————
PS: Remember the story of the “mysterious wallet” where I also freaked out? I’m so silly sometimes…

***UPDATE*** I GOT THE CALL!!!


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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Matt Becker September 18, 2013 at 6:03 am

Haha, I can definitely relate to fearing the unknown but you really don’t have anything to worry about here. Worst case scenario, like you said, you pay your deductible and move on, maybe with slightly higher insurance rates. If the damage was really as small as you say, the guy might not even call you. But there’s definitely no “financial catastrophe” situation waiting to happen here.

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2 Taynia | The Fiscal Flamingo September 18, 2013 at 6:45 am

What?! How did they not you not call right away. That’s crazy. I’m trying to think of scenarios of why they wouldn’t call and am coming up empty. Except maybe they don’t speak English. Because even if it was a rental or they need to fix it, they should still call and let you know all is well. Oh maybe they are a fugitive and the minivan was stolen.

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3 J. Money September 18, 2013 at 11:39 pm

I know, right? That’s exactly what I’m thinking over here too! And that probably the paper flew off or got ruined or smudged or something and they can’t make out my number?

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4 Aimee September 18, 2013 at 6:54 am

If there was really just a dent in the license plate then why bother calling? You took pictures so I think you’re good.

Don’t feel bad about hitting a parked car. When I was moving a couple months ago I took a detour to sell some Ikea wall art and smashed side mirrors when a parked car. I was so stressed about moving that I got out and picked up my broken mirror and never even looked at the other car (a Mustang). I didn’t realize until an hour later that I never looked at the other car, and decided I wouldn’t go to hell or jail for a $50 max broken side mirror.

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5 J. Money September 18, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Oh man, haha… Maybe the ‘stang was fine?

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6 Kevin September 18, 2013 at 7:13 am

Cheer up J$. Yeah I know, easy for me to say. Here’s the thing though: you hit a parked car. Embarrassing, yes. Unoccupied, no. That means no one was able to get out, fling themselves on the ground, and thrash around like all “ohhh my goooooosh I’m so hurt! Calling my lawyer…” Ya know.

So the worst thing you have to worry about is a slight bump in premiums. You left a note, you’re golden (as long as it didn’t rain like 15 mins later ;) ).

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7 J. Money September 18, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Yeah, it could have DEF. been a lot worse – no doubt about it. The first thing I thought was – “Thank God our baby wasn’t in here!”

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8 Lance @ Money Life and More September 18, 2013 at 7:33 am

You have pictures which is smarter than most people. You’ll be fine. Worst case you file an insurance claim, pay the deductible and that’s it. Best case they call and say don’t worry or it was only a $50-$100 fix and if you pay them cash they won’t report it. Then your rates can’t go up! But I’m guessing you have accident forgiveness with USAA by now :)

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9 Brian September 18, 2013 at 7:43 am

At least you were kind enough to leave a note. Some people would have not left one or left a fake one.

Also you are not the biggest idiot in the world… This guy (http://www.purdueexponent.org/campus/image_0b674c52-8528-5c38-a411-f226b87e3dba.html) is. He did what you did, only put it in drive instead of reverse. Just to paint the picture a little more. He had to drive over one of the parking space markers and then over the side walk before going into the store. I only remember this because I was having a few drinks in the bar next door when it happened.

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10 J. Money September 18, 2013 at 11:45 pm

OH. MY. GOSH. Now THAT is bad! Haha….. Puts things into perspective, doesn’t it? ;)

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11 Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies September 18, 2013 at 8:05 am

I once had a minor accident in a parking lot and we exchanged info. She said they probably wouldn’t do anything since the damage was so minor (I had no damage) but wanted to talk to her husband. Well, I lost her contact info and spent months wondering if I was going to get a random call… Never happened.

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12 Brian September 18, 2013 at 8:25 am

Assuming and anticipation can consume you if you let it. Wouldn’t it have been wise to file a police report? Don’t want to be accused of a hit and run. I realize no one was hurt, but just thinking of covering your a$$.

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13 J. Money September 18, 2013 at 11:46 pm

You know, I didn’t even think to report anything until after I was home and laying in bed. It probably *would* have been smart to do just in case, but even at the time we were rushing to go pick up our kid from daycare too so I bet I wouldn’t have even did it if I had thought of it then. Besides that, and the 18+ onlookers I just wanted to get the hell outta there, haha…

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14 Michelle September 18, 2013 at 8:26 am

That’s great that you left your info. My car has been hit so many times and not a single time has a note been left!

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15 Kali @CommonSenseMillennial September 18, 2013 at 8:33 am

They may not call you back if the damage was very minor to their vehicle, because they may not want to deal with the hassle of working something out with you. It’s either call you and try to negotiate something, or call their insurance company.. and even though they weren’t at fault, they probably don’t want to involve insurance over something so small. Anytime you make a claim, even if another driver was the cause of the damage, your own insurance will likely increase – something I imagine they’d like to avoid. My friend did the exact same thing at the beginning of the year; we were leaving a restaurant and she backed straight into another car in the parking lot. We immediately went back inside to find the owner of the vehicle, and after seeing the only damage was a small dent, he didn’t seem that concerned about it. They exchanged information, but he never called her OR involved insurance – so yes, this simple end to a big oopsie does happen because many people just don’t think the hassle on their end is worth it to take care of a little ding or scratch :)

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16 J. Money September 18, 2013 at 11:49 pm

That’s what I’m REALLY hoping for out of all this. A nice “no biggie” at the end… Just as long as they call and tell me! :)

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17 B Ririe @ The Wealth Gospel September 18, 2013 at 9:17 am

Haha I’m secretly hoping it’s the mob. Not really, though. That was too funny. At least you left your info. I saw someone violently back into a car in a soccer park parking lot a few months back and they just drove off. I wrote down the license plate and put a note on the window…only to forget MY OWN info in case they needed a witness or something. If you’re the biggest idiot in the world, I’m looking to relieve you of your championship belt. Just FYI.

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18 J. Money September 18, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Haha… yours is at least way above and beyond! That was smart thinkin’ if you ask me :)

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19 Cat @ Budget Blonde September 18, 2013 at 9:22 am

Oh man that suckssss! Glad you are okay. I hope that the fact they drive a mini van means they are a nice family with a lot of kids who know their car will get beat up eventually anyway. Fingers crossed!

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20 Martin September 18, 2013 at 9:32 am

You’re just too out of control for the road my friend!

We’ve all been there. Kudos to you for leaving your info. I’ve seen people just take off.

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21 Dawn Allcot September 18, 2013 at 9:41 am

Congratulations – you’re official a new daddy! I swear, I was never dumb until I had kids. ;) WEll, that’s not entirely true… Anyway… I think if he waits TOO long, insurance won’t accept the claim. You have about 48 hours (to my knowledge, which is secondhand…) And I would say if he doesn’t call you within 2 days, he would waive his right to ask you to pay cash for the damage. I would suspect he’s letting you off on this for being a good Samaritan.
Appreciate your honesty in this post. :) It will be fine. :)

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22 J. Money September 18, 2013 at 11:57 pm

Thanks, friend :) I’m going with that then – I became dumber when I became a dad, haha…. I didn’t know that’s what happened so now I feel much better!

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23 Debt Blag September 18, 2013 at 9:46 am

Ah, sorry to hear that this happened. But this is what we buy insurance for — to smooth over the big bumps so you can worry about them less.

And if they get angry, that says more about them than it does about you…

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24 John S @ Frugal Rules September 18, 2013 at 9:46 am

Oh, I hate the unknown….but at least you did the right thing by leaving a note and taking pictures.

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25 Dan Meyers September 18, 2013 at 9:47 am

My wife hit a parked BMW about a year ago and we also did the right thing by leaving a note. By our estimates, it was going to cost a couple grand since it was a brand new BMW and we (she) damaged the quarter panel and bumper. The guy who owned the car called my cell phone (we left my number) and was very surprised and excited we left our info. He said he was very busy but would get an estimate shortly. It’s been a year now and we haven’t heard anything so I guess there’s hope for you too!!

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26 J. Money September 18, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Oh nice! I’d imagine after a year the odds of a call is now slim to none. He’s probably traded it in for a sexy new model already by now ;)

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27 Heather September 18, 2013 at 9:50 am

That stinks! But you’re not alone…I ran into a parked car once. Here’s the worst part-I was driving a rental car because my car was in the shop from a recent accident! Totaled the rental and had to pay BOTH deductibles to get my car back. Talk about embarassing!

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28 J. Money September 18, 2013 at 11:59 pm

OUCH! Now *that* sucks, jeez… sorry to hear about that, but thanks so much for telling me! :)

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29 Retire By 40 September 18, 2013 at 10:06 am

Did you leave your real number? ;)
I did that once too, but very gently so no visible dent or anything. That’s what bumpers are for….

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30 Romona @Monasez September 18, 2013 at 11:07 am

I think you handled this situation well. A lot of people would have just left. By the way I’m playing the powerball this week. I got my fingers crossed. :)

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31 KM September 18, 2013 at 11:13 am

It’s totally natural to be freaking out not knowing what the other people may do. But it’s possible that they won’t do anything because you left a note. About a year ago my husband and I were in Downtown LA trying to park in the tightest parking space possible and my husband scraped the side of a new-ish minivan. He felt terrible and was freaking out and was about to leave a note when the family appeared. He quickly apologized and offered to give the guy his info, but the guy looked at the scrape (which was SO obvious) and just brushed it off and was like, “eh, it’s ok”. I think he just appreciated the honesty.

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32 J. Money September 19, 2013 at 12:00 am

I want THAT please.

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33 Wunderwriter September 18, 2013 at 11:48 am

This happened to my husband and I a few years ago. You couldn’t even see the damage, but I insisted we leave a note anyway. The other driver’s insurance company turned in a claim for over $1900! I told our insurance company it was totally bogus (I didn’t take a cell phone photo at the time, stupid mistake), but they not only paid the entire claim, they increased our premiums for the next five years!

In the interim, I changed insurance companies to get a lower rate, sold two vehicles and increased our deductible, but it still stings every time I write that premium check…we did the right thing and we got stung badly. I’m not certain what the lesson learned would be, since I would not want to knowingly damage someone’s vehicle and not accept responsibility for it, but we certainly will think twice about leaving a note when there’s no visible damage next time.

I hope things work out better for you than they did for us!

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34 Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen September 18, 2013 at 6:42 pm

That’s horrible that happened to you! You did the right thing and then they took advantage of you for it. I’m sure that happens in a very slim amount of incidents but we’ve all heard horror stories of it.

Hope things are much better for you now!

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35 J. Money September 19, 2013 at 12:02 am

What the hell??? That’s horrible :( I bet they just blamed it on other scratches and dings it already had on the car or something, what a pile of nonsense. And also the reason I fear so much because people DO get screwed over by doing the right thing – I just won’t want to be in that %! Haha… I appreciate your willingness to share though, thank you so much :)

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36 maria@moneyprinciple September 18, 2013 at 11:58 am

Oh dear! My heart goes out to you but…This is nothing compared to reversing out of a garage where my car was serviced and hitting the door of a car: it belonged to the owner of the garage and had just been sold. I paid for the damage and took in a bottle of really nice wine. But the embarrassment…No need to say I’ve never been back. I have damaged my car(s) on our gates several times since though. Probably time to stop driving!

And no, you are not the biggest idiot in the world; I am a very good contender :).

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37 J. Money September 19, 2013 at 12:03 am

You’re just smart and resorted to wine – I didn’t even consider that! :)

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38 Nick @ ayoungpro.com September 18, 2013 at 1:54 pm

If I were them I wouldn’t be calling you because I don’t care about minimum damage to my license plate. :)

If I were you I would be freaking out too. If my wife doesn’t answer her phone two times in a row I convince myself that she has been kidnapped and killed…every time…without fail.

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39 J. Money September 19, 2013 at 12:04 am

Hahahah…. that really is the worst, isn’t it?

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40 Pat at Feeling Financial September 18, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Happens to the best of us. You’d only be an idiot if you drove off instead of doing the right thing. Hope you get some closure soon. Or maybe the owner really doesn’t care. If they live in an urban area they might be accustomed to giving and getting “love bumps” all the time – they just didn’t see that you gunned it.

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41 Diolated September 18, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I don’t want to get you more nervous b/c it’s probably not a huge deal, but in Michigan where I live, it is illegal to just leave a note. You physically have to give your information to the operator/owner of the vehicle or contact the police if they are unavailable. You should check out the applicable statute in your state, and if required, should consider making a police report just to CYA.

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42 J. Money September 19, 2013 at 12:05 am

Oh wow, really? Now THAT would add to my nightmares here, dang… Hitting google as soon as I send this!

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43 Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life September 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Not knowing IS the worst! In my business (theatre) you only get a call when you book the job. So if you were down to the final two or three you could be sitting around for days, weeks even, just stewing in your own anxiety and anticipation waiting for the phone to ring with an offer. THE WORST!

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44 SavvyFinancialLatina September 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I have a better one for you. I backed into a concrete post and left a huge dent on my bumper. I was trying to back into a parking spot. Never doing that again. It’s just not my strength. I still haven’t fixed my bumper. We keep having other expenses come up.

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45 J. Money September 19, 2013 at 12:06 am

Hey, what did that post ever do to you?! ;)

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46 Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen September 18, 2013 at 3:43 pm

That’s very nice of you to leave a note! It’s horrible to get back to your car to find a nice new dent or scratch and no note of course! This will all turn out just fine. Most likely the damage was so minimal that they just threw out the note. There are a lot of crazy people out there, but the majority of people are just like you.

BTW, it’s not stupid to hit a parked car. I’ve done it myself and I’ve had it happen to me before. Though…I was backing out of a super super tight spot and hit the car behind me. Left a note but they never bothered calling me. Car was pretty banged up anyways and don’t know if they tell where I hit them. Another time I was in the parking lot waiting for a huge Tundra truck to back out of his spot. Only to watch him back right into my car! Guy said he didn’t see it at all…guess I’m too distracting!

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47 J. Money September 19, 2013 at 12:10 am

Haha.. “too banged up to be able to tell” that’s awesome. And sadly what’s becoming of my poor caddy too ;)

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48 Ally September 18, 2013 at 5:23 pm

My brother ran into a parked car at the gas station once and he drove off without leaving a note or checking for damage. A witness took down his license plate number and my brother got a call a few days later from a cop who gave him a $200 ticket for leaving the scene of an accident. My brother is a horrible driver and has been in a ton of stupid, embarrassing accidents such as getting stuck in a ditch during the middle of summer because he was driving too fast and went sliding off the road (a cop had just put on his lights to pull him over and saw the entire thing – he was laughing so hard that he didn’t bother to give him a ticket) and getting stuck in a muddy field because he thought he could drive around a traffic jam (unfortunately, I was in the car with him and begged him not to go off the road but he wouldn’t listen to me).

If someone left a note on my car and I didn’t see any damage, I probably wouldn’t bother to call them. Or I would send them a text saying that it’s fine.

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49 J. Money September 19, 2013 at 12:13 am

Your brother is just like mine!!! Also ran into a ditch (while looking for a cd) and then got out and walked away as if it wasn’t a thing! He claims he went looking for help, but none of us believe him :) He came back a while later to be greeted by cops and asked why he left the scene of a crime too, haha… I do feel better thinking about this stuff though, so thanks :)

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50 charles@gettingarichlife September 19, 2013 at 4:44 am

Hey J Money,
If you win the lottery will that make you an official member of your millionaire club?

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51 J. Money September 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Yes – I believe so :) In fact, I was envisioning how AWESOME of a net worth update that would have been! Haha…

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52 J. Money September 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm

BREAKING NEWS: I got the call!! :)

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