A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 05, 2012
“If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car payments”

A creditor wants to be paid back, so a creditor wishes a debtor good physical and financial health. “Quickest way to get back on your feet is to miss a couple of car payments!” has been cited in print since at least January 1965. “If you think nobody cares if you are alive, try missing a couple of car payments” is a version of the same saying from the 1970s.

The New York City syndicated newspaper columnist Earl Wilson featured the saying in several of his columns and is frequently (and incorrectly) given credit for it.


15 January 1965, Le Mars (IA) Daily Sentinel, pg. 1, col. 3:
And folks who slipped, consider the recipe for regaining their balance suggested by The G-Man in the Dallas Center Times column Local Color. He says: “Quickest way to get back on your feet is to miss a couple of car payments!”

Google News Archive
28 June 1965, Beaver County Times (PA), “The Earl Wilson Column,” pg. B8, col. 4:
REMEMBERED QUOTE: “If you want to get back on your feet just skip a couple of car payments.” — Arcola (Ill.) Record Herald. 

Google News Archive
11 July 1974, Malakoff (TX) News, “Spirit-Toons” by Joe Berry, pg. 2, col. 3:
The QUICKEST way to get back on your feet, is to MISS a couple of car payments.

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
12 January 1977, Moravia (NY) Republican Register, “Moravia Local Jottings,” pg. 6, col. 5:
And if you think nobody cares if you are alive—miss a couple of car payments.

31 October 1977, Dallas (TX) Morning News, Earl Wilson column, sec. C, pg. 8, col. 4:
EARL’S PEARLS: If you think nobody cares if you are alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

Google Books
The Truth About Money:
Because money doesn’t come with instructions

By Ric Edelman
New York, NY: HarperCollins
1998
Pg. 320:
“When you think no one cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car payments.”
-- Anonymous

Google Books
The Wealth Cure:
Putting money in its place

By Hill Harper
New York, NY: Gotham Books
2011
Pg. ?:
“If you think nobody cares if you are alive, try missing a couple of car payments.”
—Earl Wilson, American newspaper columnist

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Sunday, February 05, 2012 • Permalink