Big Wednesday #5
Diehard mortgages, Magic the Overheard, don't get screwed buying a car, dis misinformation is bad
Even if you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard that interest rates are rising, and therefore the cost of financing the rock under which you live is increasing. Maybe that explains why I’ve been getting so many calls about refinancing our mortgage “before rates rise again!” Here’s one from a caller named Ray.
“Michael, now is a great time to refinance,” Ray began. “Are you interested in a new mortgage?”
“I dunno, Ray. My current mortgage is a real peach.”
“What’s your interest rate?”
“It’s just a hair under three percent.”
“Damn, that’s lucky.”
“It’s not luck, it’s skill.”
Ray laughed, but I didn’t miss a beat.
“The bank wanted to charge us six percent,” I continued. “But I arm-wrestled the guy at the mortgage desk, slammed his hand down so hard I shattered his bones and knocked a stack of complimentary calendars onto the floor.”
“I don’t joke about money, Ray. Now how much are you gonna pay me to take out a mortgage?”
“Well, our rates are around five percent, but that’s what you would pay us…”
“Five percent!? I don’t get out of bed for less than ten percent. Frankly, I should be sitting on a beach earning twenty percent, but some asshole cop from New York threw my partner off a building at Nakatomi Plaza in LA.”
“Tell you what, Ray. I’ll take three hundred grand at ten percent per month.”
“That’s right. Drop the three hundred grand off at my place. Cash, no crypto. For the monthly vig, I accept direct deposit, Venmo, and Zelle.”
“Um… I’m not sure you understand how mortgages work. You would be paying us, Michael.”
“I can’t make any money that way.”
“Well, no, that’s how we make money.”
“Wait a minute, Ray. Wait just one dang minute. You mean to tell me you’re in the business of calling strangers who don’t have money, signing them up for a mortgage, and then collecting payments from them every month?”
“And that works? That’s a solid business?”
“It’s a great business.”
“Well, Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker! That’s some gangster shit, Ray. I wish we had a guy with your brains on the Nakatomi Plaza job. Are you hiring? I’ve got some Silicon Valley outfits kicking the tires on my resume, but I’d much rather sell mortgages.”
Spencer Irwin wrote to share a magical overhead memory from his youth.
When I was probably around 12 or so, a friend and I stopped into a local hobby store so he could buy some baseball cards. But the store was more geared toward D&D and Magic the Gathering. The moment we opened the door and stepped inside we heard somebody protest:
“But that’s not what a REAL wizard would do!”
I love this overheard because 1) it implies that there are “real” wizards and 2) it leaves us with an irresistible mystery, namely what was this fake wizard attempting do?
By the way, Spencer has a Substack that hasn’t been updated since January. But don’t let that stop you. People still read the Game of Thrones books, even though George R.R. Martin doesn’t update much either. Check out Spencer’s Substack here.
They Screw You at the Car Dealership
There were some great responses to my story about leasing a Ford Fiesta. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to read the comments. One personal favorite was Elizabeth Marro’s story about losing her beloved VW Rabbit and then taking that loss out on her subsequent cars. Check out Spark, Elizabeth’s fantastic Substack!
Something I learned from the responses to last Sunday’s Situation Normal is that it’s common to get screwed when buying or leasing a car. Maybe that’s why this car dealer’s TikTok about not getting “fucked” resonated with me. Press ▶️ to hear his pitch👇
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Dis misinformation is bad news
I didn’t receive any job offers for the other Michael Estrin this week, but I did receive an offer to move Situation Normal off of Substack and onto “the highest quality” platform. Here’s what George from Overlooked wrote:
George’s offer sounded great, but the fact that he thought I was monetizing Situation Normal led me to believe that perhaps he had been given some bad information. Here’s what I wrote back:
To my surprise, George, or an artificial intelligence in his employee, wrote back!
I haven’t replied to George yet because I wanted to ask YOU how I should repsond.
Stick around and chat!
You know the drill. I’ve got questions, you may or may not have answers.
Can I interest you in a mortgage? Please note: my rates are considered usury in 49 out of 50 states (you rule, Idaho!)
Are wizards real? If so, what’s something a real wizard wouldn’t do? Right answers welcome, wrong answers strongly encouraged!
Would you buy a car from the guy in the TikTok video? Or, if you already bought a car from that guy, did you get fucked?
George seems to think I should monetize Situation Normal. Is he right?
Contribute to Situation Normal!
Do you have a question about something I’ve written? Got a hilarious anecdote you want to share? See something on the internet, or IRL, that made you LOL or WTF? Find a funny typo in the wild? Send your submissions to me at 👇
When submitting, please tell me if you’d like to use an alias, or do the first name last initial thing. If you write a newsletter, I’m happy to link to it, so let me know!
Until Sunday, when I’ll have a story about… well, I’m not sure yet. But I will have a story
Hit the ❤️ button🙏👇