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by Andrea Albanese

TAXES

I don’t know when this issue will actually roll off the presses, but right now, its tax time. What a royal pain! First, getting all those papers together is a major chore for the organizationally challenged like myself. Then, one must take time out of an already busy schedule to visit the tax preparer and, very likely, write a check to the government. Then, as the final insult, you are presented with yet another bill by the tax preparer. No one is excluded from this process. A former neighbor of mine, who was on disability, once took a small part-time job before the holidays to buy her child a nicer gift. (She is actually a close friend but I didn’t want you to think I ran with a bad crowd.) Someone with a lot of time on their hands saw fit to report her to the authorities for this heinous crime. Naturally, her gift went to Uncle Sam instead; We’re talking less than ten dollars here, but the government keeps track of these things.

Lately, however, I’ve tried to look at taxes in a new way. Most of the time, people like us are insignificant peasants in whom the government has little interest. But, as the ides of April approach, the government is very interested in you. For example, last time I had my taxes calculated, I had forgotten to bring along a couple of documents. Well, everything came to a screeching halt as phone calls were made before business closed for the day to get the needed information. Wow!…I needed to obtain my FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS. Is that cool, or what? As if that were not enough, I was asked about charitable contributions as if I were a great philanthropist. Like a high-ranking executive with an expense account, I was asked about “professional expenses.” (Hmmm…sort of reminds me of Ralph Kramden referring to his wife as a “career girl” followed by her sarcastic comment that she worked at Krausmeyer’s Bakery where her “career” was “stuffing jelly into donuts.”) At any rate, suddenly, I was Doris Duke (world’s richest woman, circa 1928) with money flowing generously in all directions. I wrote my checks to the tax preparer, the federal government, and the state government. I left the office filed with a sense of largesse…financially secure, the world at my fingertips. The feeling lasted until just about the time I reached my car and found the $150.00 parking ticket and wondered where I was going to find the money to pay it. Oh well, at least the car didn’t turn into a pumpkin.