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“Are You *IN* Debt or Do You *HAVE* Debt?”

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This weekend my wife and I had a date night while the kids slept over their grandparents house. We used the opportunity to go to Foxwoods casino for a special dinner and to see comedian Chris D'Elia. He was a co-star in NBC's Whitney and Undateable, two shows that I thought were fantastic. I didn't particularly like them due to D'Elia, but he was the common theme.

I'll get back to Chris D'Elia and the dinner in a bit, but I found the opening comedian somewhat interesting. I think his name was Mike Lomborg. I wish I could find out for sure, but he wasn't mentioned in writing anywhere I could find. My best attempts to dig through Google came up empty.

Comedy usually doesn't pay good money for people at this level. And that's a point that Mike grabbed onto and ran with. Comedy also works best when it's a little self-deprecating. Mike explained that having a scooter instead of a car significant diminishes his dating prospects. He also said this (paraphrased) about one of his break-ups:

"She said that she loves me, but she's not in love with me... That's like me saying that I have debt, but that I'm not IN debt. So I went to the bank and told them that while I have debt with them, I'm not IN debt with them, so I'm not going to be making any more payments."

Obviously, that wouldn't work out very well for Mike's personal finance situation. I found it funny, so I had to share it.

He had another personal finance joke. This one was about student loans. He mentioned how he wrote a $300 check and somehow still owes the same amount of money (it's a comedy show, not math, but let's presume that the interest rate is the reason). He goes on to ask if they are the mafia, because it would be easier if they just broke his legs and called it even.

He warned that this is what happens when you go to college and don't use the degree. That's some sage advice from a guy who started out his act with about 25 pointless swears in the first 2 minutes.

Ever see the movie Memento where the movie's scenes are in reverse and then returns to the present day at the end of the movie? I'm going to steal that idea for this article.

A couple of hours before Mike took the stage, my wife and I sat down for dinner at David Burke's Prime Steakhouse at Foxwoods. This was not going to be a cheap dinner. However, I hoped to have a steak that I wouldn't forget. In a way, they delivered on that promise, just not the way I had hoped. I'll start by saying the service and the table-side Caesar salad were very good. Unfortunately, the 75-day dry aged ribeye was very ordinary... and certainly not of the worth the premium price in my opinion.

Continuing the Memento backwards theme, we were a half-hour early for our reservation. We decided to have a drink at the bar.

The price of wine at David Burke's Prime was shocking. The cheapest bottle on the menu was $82. I'd say only 20% of the bottles were in two digits. I'd say the median was probably around $125. With four glasses of wine per a bottle, that's anywhere from $20-$30 a glass. They had good wine, but having been to several of the vineyards, they weren't extremely premium-priced ones. The interesting thing to me is that if you bought wine by the glass, there were many selections between $18-22. That seems to be the best way to go... if you want wine.

I went with the beer myself. At $7-$8 for most of the drafts, you can have 2-3 before you get to the price of a glass of wine... or around 15-18 drafts for the price of (my estimated) median bottle of wine. (Note: Please don't try to drink 15-18 beers.)

I don't think I'll be back. It's not because it was bad, but I found David Burke's Prime Steakhouse was a slightly above average experience for an extreme price.

Before we went to David Burke's, we stopped to play some craps. I'm a big fan of craps, probably because I know many of the odds. That helps you minimize the house's advantage... which is the best that most people can hope for.

We proceeded to lose $50 fairly quickly. What are the odds of three straight rolls of 3 on the come out roll? Well, it's 3/36 for one roll. My math skills are very, very rusty, but I think it's something like 27 in 46,656... or about 1 in 1725. That's exactly what happened to us.

We figured that we might as well move on to dinner. Though it was early for our reservation, maybe they'd be able to seat us early. Worse case, we could pass the time to dinner with a drink at the bar.

Now we jump to ten minutes before the Chris D'Elia show starts. I decide to hop on Twitter and see if people in the audience are Tweeting about him. I do a search and see tweets saying that his show Undateable was cancelled by NBC hours before. I figured that this could be very interesting...

... it didn't get interesting as he didn't mention it until near the end of his act when someone in the audience brought up Whitney. He said something about his stand-up routine being different from his television stuff. So that was disappointing. He also seemed to be so tired that he'd laugh at his own jokes before he told them. One time he told a joke and ad-libbed something and said, "Hey someone Tweet me that so I remember that."

This is nitpicky stuff as most of his act was very good. He had two financial jokes (that I remember).

The first was about Wells Fargo greeters. It was funny, but I couldn't related because: 1) Wells Fargo is barely in New England and 2) Who actually goes in banks? I've been inside a bank about 3 times in 5 years... and they were for fairly unusual circumstances such as getting a HELOC for solar power and opening a business account.

The second joke, and I'm not sure this was supposed to be a joke, was D'Elia admitting that he has no idea how to switch banks. He thought that perhaps they give you bags of money with money signs on them when you leave the bank.

I wonder, is this really a problem that people can relate to? I understand that it's a joke, but it seems like the joke would be funnier if there was basis of truth that people could laugh as if to say, "It's funny, because it's true."

My favorite joke of D'Elia's was about how we are the stars of our own movies. While we might all agree that he's the star right now with the literal spotlight on him addressing a large crowd, there's an entirely different perspective to consider. For some couples, such as ones on a date, he's just a small part of their evening... he might as well be "Comedian #2."

Let's end this rambling article on that sage thought from "Comedian #2."

P.S. If you are still reading, I'm going to be releasing a special deal exclusively on my mailing list tomorrow. It's free, so you might want to sign up if you aren't a member already.

Posted on May 16, 2016.

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2 Responses to ““Are You *IN* Debt or Do You *HAVE* Debt?””

  1. I didn’t know where the post was going, but the title immediately made me think of the differences between the two statements in a purely connotation sense.

    To me, being “in debt” has to do with a worrying about making the next debt payment. A sense of drowning or anxiety comes with it. While stating “I have debt” is something along the lines of being able to easily pay off the debt payments.

    Again, I know it wasn’t the point but the title got me thinking about it.

    • Lazy Man says:

      This article was harking back to the weekend updates that I’d used to write around 2008 and 2009. It wasn’t unusual for me to do restaurant reviews back then. And a lot of the blog is about my financial journey of which an expensive dinner qualifies.

      I agree with you about the connotations now that I think about it. At the comedy show, I wasn’t trying to overthink the joke. Even writing up the article, I just liked the joke.

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