The Prime Rib Theory

THE PRIME RIB THEORY. What does that even mean? Why would you name a blog that?

I will try to explain it as best I remember but Matt can fill in the blanks since he has a computer like memory.

There is a phase of life that many of us go through, it is often a sweet period filled with wild stories and lots of transformation, this is the college years. I still look back at my days in college with great fondness because of the great relationships that I formed and the stories that came along with them.

Matt and I were roommates with a group of other guys during college, throughout that period we had a few different guys come and go, but one thing was always the same, Matt and I shared a room. We did this because we were both cheap and well dirty, so it was a good fit. We had a makeshift closet also known as the floor, there resided most of our clothes, often clean and dirty (stop judging). We also had a sweet couch in our room that I think was also home to an ant coloney, looking back on all of this, it is amazing that both of our wives, who had been in this room before marrying us, were still willing to live the rest of their lives with us. Of course I would be remiss to not mention that in spite of the dirt and nastiness our place was one of great community and spiritual activity. All of this to say we were typical college guys, to us a luxury meal was grilling up some chicken on the George Foreman grill and then putting it on some 2 dollar Tony’s pizza. I think Matt still makes this dish till this day.

Well at one point we moved into a new house that we were renting from our buddy Mark. Matt had checked the mail and gotten one of those “welcome to the neighborhood” coupon books and was all excited about it. Most of the coupons were for like dry cleaning, or installation on blinds, a few were for restaurants in the area. One coupon stood out above the rest; free prime rib dinner, sure it was at a trashy casino, but we were college guys who only had good meat when our parents would take us out to dinner.

So Matt and I went to the dirty casino to claim our free prime rib dinner. Now this is not a Bellagio type casino, no sir. There was more smoke in the air than pollution in China. Women truck drivers with Jean Jackets and wine right out of the box. So we made our way over to the restaurant area, and took our seats. The waitress came by and we quickly ordered our two free prime rib dinners. We should have known how this meal was going to go when we noticed that the only other people in the restaurant were wearing flannel shirts (men and women).

Well our prime rib dinners came and immediately there was a look of disbelief on the face of both Matt and I. What was on our plate was some instant potatoes straight out of a military MRE, and a piece of meat that probably would not have been served even in third world Sudan. To this day I am still not sure if it was cow at all, but that is a different story. I shrugged my shoulders and decided to dig in. I cut a piece of prime rib and and took a bite. What went in my mouth can only be described as a rubbery substance that had been marinated in a salt cave, and then run over by a Semi truck for a couple of hours. It was a horrible concoction of gristle, fat, vein, and salty gym shoe. Truly I still remember the taste and smell right now as I type these words. But here is where the Prime Rib Theory comes in.

A horrendous look of disgust past over the look of both my face and Matt’s. Matt quickly pushed his plate away and boldy declared that was one of the worst things that has ever been served on the planet earth, and I concurred. But then something weird happened I took another bite, and then another, and another, until I had eaten the whole prime rib. Matt of course was stunned and gave me this look as I had just indulged in cannibalism. Of course he blurted out, “how can you eat that?” Well the truth is that I was strangely mesmerized by how awful this steak was, and was transfixed by the idea that it could not really be that bad. I had to keep eating it to be convinced that it was as bad as the previous bite told me it was, because deep down I just did not think prime rib could taste that bad. You see, there was this optimist in me, that was just soley committed to the the foundational truth, that the next bite could not be as bad as the last.

How far was I willing to take this theory? So far that after I finished my prime rib I proceeded to eat Matt’s. And truth be told every single bite was as bad as the one before, but something in my brain was unable to believe it, I had this unshakable conviction that it would get better or not be as bad as I thought is was.

That night at the trashy casino the Prime Rib Theory was born. This notion that it can’t get any worse, that even if something seems wretched and horrible, it HAS to get better, Right? Fundamentally, I am wired this way and the Prime Rib Theory is part of who I am. I will read a book that I know is terrible all the way through, just because I think it HAS to get better, or watch a stupid movie even though everything in me is saying turn it off. The reality is that all of us subscribe and live out the Prime Rib theory to some extent, we are creatures of hope. Part of being a Christian is living the Prime Rib theory, we hope and believe, that it (being life, this world or whatever) will get better, and that eventually we will take a bite of life and it will taste the way it is supposed to…


5 Responses

  1. Well, I tell you, you are a brave soul. Tonight iIcooked a Prime Rib roast for Christmas supper, and it was the WORST meat I have ever tasted in my life! I say tasted, because I could not gag it down. Between the three of us, we only ate 1 rib worth. The dogs got the most of mine, and tomorrow I am taking the 2+ ribs worth back to the Butcher and if he can choke it down, good for him.

    Bad Prime Rib is one of the worst things on earth, and I cannot fathom how you ate not only yours, but your friend’s as well. I split a seam laughing at what I read.

  2. You’ve just described the essence of faith.

  3. Can I use this illustration in a teaching?

  4. Yeah use it however you want.

  5. This is a comment 4 years later! But there are 2 points i’d like to make: 1. the Christian life per se i think is not like a bad prime rib. The fallen world might be like a meal gone bad, that will continue to be sinful. However, God is working even in a fallen world to redeem people, to make Christ known, and finally will redeem the creation itself. So i don’t know if it can be called uniformly bad (because God is working), though Revelation does say that it will get worse.
    2. Jesus redeems our own bad prime rib lives. Giving joy and peace so that not only our future in heaven, but our life NOW is fruitful (‘life in abundance’-John 10:10)
    Your story reminds me of Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus: Sisyphus keeps going though there is no meaning in pushing the rock up the hill, because it will fall back dow. But that is not the Christian life!

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