Issue #136 – “Banking Crisis” – September 22nd, 2008

-I have spent the past month locked in an epic battle with Allstate over a $75 discrepancy in my car insurance bill.  I have written letters, created spreadsheets, and spent hours on the phone with them.  But for some reason I’m not bothered by the fact that, since the dispute began, I have racked up bar tabs totaling more than $75 on at least three occasions.  Thus, the money management strategy of most twentysomethings is paradoxical – we struggle to save money but don’t think twice about spending it frivolously.  To me, the recent demise of some of Wall Street’s most venerable institutions is not the real banking crisis.  Rather it’s our tendency to waste four dollars of gas driving to an ATM in order to avoid a two-dollar fee.

-Instead of merely sending me a check when I upgraded Blackberrys, T-Mobile sent me my $100 rebate in the form of a weird, disposable debit card.  Seriously?  Why not just send me a sack of 100 Sacagawea dollar coins, because there’s about an equal chance of those being accepted anywhere I shop.

-I’m sorry, but if you have a halfway decent job and receive a steady paycheck, you should not be using headphones you stole from an airline.

-I recently paid $3.95 to watch a movie on demand because I was too lazy to get the same movie off my shelf and put it in the DVD player.

-If my credit card gets stolen, I know I’m not liable for any unauthorized charges.  But do I still get the points?

-I ordered a new Crest SpinBrush from  They sent me a purple one.  I figured I had two choices: use a purple toothbrush, or spend the time to pack the thing up and ship it back for an $8.99 refund.  I chose option C: throw it out, order a new one, and hope for the best.

-I was in a bar in West Hollywood last weekend, and toward the end of the night I asked the bartender to close out my tab.  She said she couldn’t find my card.  I asked her to look again and she still couldn’t find it.  First I began to freak out, then I wondered if I would still get the points from all the unauthorized charges the person who stole my card would obviously make, and finally I realized that my buddy had been buying me drinks and I never opened a tab to begin with.

-Nobody likes that guy who has the great deal.  My old roommate Brian and his wife now live in an apartment that has to be one of the best deals in New York.  It’s not even a rent control building; the landlord is just a moron.  Am I happy for Brian?  No.  I hate him with a passion reserved only for those with sunken living rooms and inexpensive rent.

-One of the best parts about working in entertainment is that if I go out to dinner with my agent or a producer, they always buy.  It’s like being on a date, except I’m the chick.  And one thing I hate about taking a girl out is when she doesn’t offer to pay – even though I would never let her.  It’s just a courtesy thing.  So if I’m out with my manager and the bill comes, I still do the fake reach-for-my-wallet move until he waves me off.  And I breathe a sigh of relief – since all I have on me is a phony-looking T-Mobile debit card.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-Why do people run out to buy the slimmest, sleekest cell phones and PDAs, and then put giant, clunky cases around them?

-More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can’t wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that’s not only better, but also more directly involves me.

-Definition of “adding insult to injury”: buying something off the registry for one of your married friends, only to be added to that store’s mailing list and receive unwanted catalogues for the rest of your life.

-I hope that all my fans in Houston are recovering from the hurricane.  I’ve been to Houston twice and had a blast both times.  I performed there last in April and will never forget it because the venue told me that the person picking me up at the airport would be driving a pick-up truck with no tailgate.  Unfortunately, I walked outside and every other car was a pick-up, and I have no clue what a tailgate is.

-Whenever I stay in a hotel where the shower nozzle has several different “massage” settings, I always scroll through the settings, find myself disappointed with all of them, and then settle on the mode that is closest to a normal, non-massaging stream of water.

-It has long been a dream of mine to win an Emmy, but that dream was somewhat diluted last night when the Emmy for “reality show host” was awarded for the first time.  Is this really a deserving category?  What’s next – reality show contestants themselves get an award?  They’re all acting anyway.

-Three random things I’m always surprised that more people don’t know: the white space within the FedEx logo forms an arrow; the word “spendthrift” actually means the opposite of thrifty; and “tie goes to the runner” is not a real rule.

-And, finally, last year I attended my ten-year high school reunion with a bunch of buddies.  One of my friends discovered that he works at the same firm as a classmate of ours whom none of us had seen since graduation.  My buddy has an Ivy League degree and an MBA.  Our classmate was never the sharpest tack in the bunch in high school, yet he’s now two levels above my friend and makes twice the salary.  The moral of this story is that sometimes education, intelligence, and hard work have no bearing on how much you earn.  It can be disheartening when the idiots around you seem to have the most money.  But fret not – these are usually the same people who wear JetBlue headphones, use purple toothbrushes, and make chicks split the check.  Then again, if I did those things maybe I could actually afford my car insurance bill.  Fuck me.