This is my 400th comment. Every 100th one, I indulge myself in some way. On my 300th, I told a couple of cheap lawyer jokes. It was a lapse in taste for which I apologize. You will find no hyperlink to that puerile comment here. This time, I indulge myself doubly: (a) by being brief so I can run out and play, and (b) by daring to edit Benjamin Franklin, everyman’s mentor, one of the five greatest Americans who ever lived. It was he who said: “Neither a borrow nor a lender be.”

(OK, it wasn’t Franklin, it was Shakespeare, although I’ll bet Franklin was sore Shakespeare got to it first. Thanks to Pam Reynolds at AmeriTrade Holding Corp.[parent company of Ceres] for pointing this out – I could have sworn it was Franklin – and for coming up with this nice Franklin quote instead: “He that goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing.”)

I know what he meant of course. The surest way to lose a friend is to say “yes” when he asks to borrow money. But financially speaking, Franklin, which is to say Shakespeare (which leads some to say Bacon, but I don’t believe it) was all wet. “A creditor, not a debtor be,” is what he should have said. Maybe not a creditor to your friends (though an almost equally certain way to lose one is to say “no”), but apart from that, c’mon: far better to be a bank’s liability than its asset. (When you deposit money in a bank, it is accounted for as a liability of the bank, because they owe it to you. Your car loan is an asset of the bank — you are the debtor and it is the creditor.) Better to be owed than to owe.

May you bat .400. May you make (or not feel the need to make) the Forbes 400. May you encounter The 400 Blows only as a film classic and never on your backside.

And now, into the pool for a late-summer water volleyball game.

OK, OK. (And I want you to know I heard this one from a precocious ten-year-old.) “Why is New Jersey filled with toxic waste and California filled with lawyers?”

Give up?

scroll down . . .

scroll down . . .

“New Jersey got first pick.”

Hold the ball! I’m coming!

Monday: The Case Against Lawyer Jokes



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