A Short Story

The first time Jon heard about a “credit score,” it didn’t register. In fact, no one knows how many times the term came to his attention before it actually penetrated into his long-term memory. The idea that someone, somewhere was computing a “score” on the basis of his use of credit was a stunning idea when he began to think about it. It made total sense, of course. And the idea that the information was “out there” for the taking didn’t really surprise him very much. Then he began to hear that people with higher credit scores were able to get better interest rates and better payment terms on loans. That began to get his attention a little bit more. He wasn’t much interested in borrowing money. Actually, just the opposite. He was working hard to get out of most of his debts.


The day the idea of a credit score took on new meaning was the day his car insurance agent told him that he was eligible for a discount because of his good credit score. “What did credit have to do with auto insurance?” he wondered. His agent explained that people with better credit scores were known to be a better insurance risk. Jon was pleasantly surprised.


That was decades ago now. In the years following his first understanding of a credit score, he heard, from time-to-time about “Big Data.” Again, it didn’t register with him at first. Then he began to realize and understand that all of his activities online were leaving behind a trail of information that the various service providers and social media companies were able to harvest. It worried him a little when he stopped to think about it, but it didn’t really bother him. He remembered when the founder of FaceBook was in the news saying that the concept of privacy was outdated. He realized that was probably true, and again, it made him a little uncomfortable.


Then, and he couldn’t quite remember when it first happened, came his “Consumer Score.” He was glad that his was high enough to qualify him for the premium consumer discounts of 10% or more. He forgot to be concerned about how the score was created.


His “Green Score” was the next thing he remembered receiving. He wasn’t quite as proud of his Green Score as he was of his Credit Score and his Consumer Score. Apparently he was a bit of a wasteful, non-environmentally conscious citizen. He got lots of free online advice in the form of gatekeeper quizzes, however. And he committed himself to raising that troublesome Green Score.


When his church provided him with his “Spiritual Score” he was pleased that he had chosen such a forward-looking church all those years ago. He hadn’t known at the time he joined the church, of course, that they would be providing a “Spiritual Score,” but he knew that they were on the cutting edge of reaching out to today’s young people. He didn’t give much thought to how the church was able to provide his “Spiritual Score.” He knew that they were outsourcing it, however, because there was a new line on the online giving form that you could check if you wanted some of your donations to go to paying the “Spiritual Score Computation” costs. It was voluntary, of course, so he didn’t find anything to worry about. Again, he was just glad to have his score. It made him comfortable, somehow, to be able to keep track of how he was doing in his spiritual walk.


It had been years and years since he had been receiving his Spiritual Score, and he had been working on keeping it in the “Admirable” level ever since the rating system had been introduced.


The last couple of days had been touch-and-go. Some of the time he had known where he was and what was going on. Most of the time was a blur. He knew that his children and grandchildren had been around. He knew that he was at home and was mostly comfortable. He knew that his “time to go” was very soon. After he closed his eyes for that last time he was looking for Saint Peter to appear. It was no surprise to him when he came through that door and approached him. Jon was sure it was Saint Peter, somehow. The only big surprise to Jon came when, in response to Jon’s first words to Saint Peter, Peter asked him, “What do you mean by your ‘Spiritual Score?’ I don’t know what that is.”


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