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In My Own Little World: Since the dawn of time, tax day has annoyed human

13 April 2014 By Justin Manry, Columnist No Comments

Ever since the dawn of time, writers have been using “the dawn of time” as some vague reference point in the distant past. I, being a writer, am no exception, and the only reason I point it out is that I have a cliché alert built into my word processor that lets me know when I’m using trite phrases so I can make a self-aware joke about them and thus fill up space in my column while simultaneously alerting the reader that I am, indeed, a very clever writer who breaks all the trends of modern literature.

That being said, ever since the dawn of time, mankind has dreaded April 15.  It began during the days of the hunter-gatherers, (who, if my middle school textbook is to be believed, were a very important set of people who mastered the art of eating food from multiple sources, paving the way for the modern Taco Bell AND McDonald’s run), when a man would wake up on April 14, realize what day it was and that he had yet to send in his W-2 (the form for killing two wooly mammoths in the past year, of course), calculate how many shiny rocks he had earned hunting and/or gathering that year, do a series of complex calculations involving made up numbers, and then file for bankruptcy.

This is basically where we derive our tax code from today, except now we have the benefit of television commercials for people who will supposedly do your taxes in a way in which money will start falling from the sky and the government will be your best friend. (As a side note, if I were to have any commercial come true in my life, I would like to have a ticket oak. Hands down.)

So naturally, being a college student, I decided to wait until the last minute to do my taxes. And let me tell you, I came out of it with a deep and powerful love for all the wonderful people at the IRS who filled my day with the inexplicable joy of staring at pages upon pages of confusing categories and frustrating formulas that left me with a feeling of pure nausea. (And a strange affinity for alliteration.)

And when they weren’t trying to get me lost in tax jargon, they were reminding me of just how single I still am. “Here’s the line to fill out for a joint tax return with your spouse,” the form would say in what I can only imagine was an extremely condescending tone, “if you HAD one!” And then the form would laugh and laugh and I would be left to figure out what percentage I should multiply to what asset to calculate the taxes I owe for having two functioning kidneys.

By the end of it, I had lost my pride, most of the function in my frontal lobe, and all of my money, which is going to pay for Obama’s dog’s grooming expenses, I believe.

So I know I sound like the typical “complaining about taxes” guy, and I sort of am, but honestly doing my taxes was the most exciting thing that happened this week. I could’ve written about eating Vietnamese food in Towson, or the fact that ladybugs have been invading my room and I have to sweep them off my bed every night, but I decided to complain about taxes. So sue me. Actually, don’t sue me, I’m sure that would only make my taxes even more complicated next year, and we’d probably end up on Judge Judy where she would call me a moron and ridicule my mustache, which is what justice is all about.

Anyway, I think the point is “fight the power” or “don’t let the man get you down” or “stop taking showers” or whatever hippy nonsense you’d prefer. As for me, I’ll probably abide by the rules and pay my taxes for as long as I live in the USA, or at least until I work for the government, in which case I’ll pay taxes to myself. Or at least I think that’s how that works.

So here’s the random thought of the week: I’ve found myself in times of trouble on multiple occasions, and I have yet to see Mother Mary speaking any words of wisdom, let alone with harmonized “oohs” behind her. Thanks for getting my hopes up, Paul McCartney.

Don’t lose your sanity, party people.

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