high-minded drivel

high-minded (adjective) - refined; cultured; particularly civilized. drivel (noun) - senseless talk; nonsense.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Consider yourself warned: Reading this will take a toll

A decent layer of sleety slush has now covered the ground in Columbus, so I'm secretly (not really) hoping (really) that tomorrow's evening class will get cancelled.  It is doubtful that this will occur, because theoretically people will have had a chance to prepare by tomorrow evening.  Ideally the precipitation will pause, and then start up again right around 3:30pm tomorrow, with great vengeance and furious anger.

I braved the sleet to venture up to the corner coffee shop tonight to write this post, seeking an atmosphere more conducive to creative writing.  Being in the coffee shop and suddenly feeling more inspired to write is probably something like a placebo effect, but who doesn't enjoy a nice mug of warm, Costa Rican blend placebo once in awhile?  More than that, I just wanted to get out of the house.  After weeks of buildup (procrastination?), I sat down to complete my tax return tonight.  For something that results in getting me money back, it's amazing how much I loathe completing my tax return.  It's one of those things that feels good when you finally complete it, but still, the dollars you get back barely seem worth it.

When I say 8x11 sheet, I actually mean "noc list"
So yes, it takes at least two solid months to steel myself for the task, and I sat down tonight with forms in hand, ready to tackle the indecipherable rules and maddening calculations for another year.  But when I started up the "fillable forms" program online, I was first prompted to install some new plugin.  Fine, I yielded to this early request, thinking that you just have to pick your battles.  Then I was advised by the IRS website to find out if I was eligible for a certain benefit available to some individuals and families.  Fine, I thought, go through the eligibility test, because just like the final tax return, this may actually be worth the time.  Well, it turns out I was not eligible, so that was 10-15 minutes lost, and I could feel my commitment flagging.  The next step was to click on the link to begin the "fillable forms" program itself, and naturally I was prompted to either login using my password or to create a new account.  I pulled out my trusty 8x11 piece of paper from my desk drawer that has ALL my passwords on it, scanned down the page to find the username and password for the "fillable forms" site, and entered both in the appropriate spaces.  The "fillable forms" site did not recognize my username or my password, which was quite amazing given that I had saved the email from last year's campaign and could clearly see that the username and password I had recorded on my trusty 8x11 sheet were in fact 100% accurate.  Fine, I thought, one must not quibble, and so I clicked the link to create a new account.  Sometimes you just have to utilize a roundabout after all.  Well, after entering all the information required to create a new account, I clicked the link to proceed with creating the new account, but was surprised (not really) and rather enraged (really) to find that the site would not advance!  It just sat there with the "create account" screen open, doing nothing!  FINE, I THOUGHT, I'LL JUST REBOOT MY COMPUTER.  REBOOTING CURES EVERYTHING FROM A FROZEN COMPUTER PROGRAM TO MALARIA, SO SURELY THIS WILL WORK.  AFTER ALL, I'VE SPENT TWO MONTHS BUILDING UP MY DETERMINATION TO DO THIS, SO I'M NOT GOING TO BE DEFEATED THAT EASILY.

It worked!  Wonder of wonders, I was able to advance through the site and filled out all my tax forms without a hitch.


So my next move was obvious, right?  Slam the computer lid shut, storm out of the house, and retire with hasty step to the coffee shop where I now sit licking my wounds.  My IRS-inflicted wounds.  In cruel irony, the password to use the wireless internet at the coffee shop tonight is "patience."

Actually, I had my financial advisor take care of everything
No doubt I'm not the only citizen who has undergone this experience, and so I'd like to make a proposal to the federal government for how to vastly improve the satisfaction of the populace.  Here it is: Re-institute the position of the "tax man."  The tax man has had a bad reputation throughout history, from the New Testament to Stevie Ray Vaughan.  But here's the thing: the new version of the tax man (Tax Man 2.0, if you will) won't just collect taxes.  He'll also return tax money.  Heck, if things work out such that your neighbor owes taxes and you are owed taxes, you could find the tax man taking money from your neighbor, traveling next door, and handing it right over to you!  Depending on your neighbors, this could be outstanding!  Clearly there is the potential for a Robin Hood-like figure here, with the tax man traveling through the rich neighborhoods in the morning and passing out the goods in the poorer neighborhoods throughout the afternoon, before retiring to the local pub with all those same cheery people for a pint, bought with that same money that was just doled out!  This is not a win-win scenario. This is a win-win-winny-win-win scenario.  Let's just go ahead and establish the standard uniform of the tax man as a green jerkin, leggings, and feathered cap right now.

Here's another idea to create jobs: Re-institute bootlegging
Now, if that proposal is a little too "pie in the sky" for you, then let me give you some figures that I'll make up as I go along.  No less than 10,000 new jobs will be created.  Good jobs.  Jobs that require intelligence and charisma and that bring communities together.  Those 10,000 jobs will be held by 10,000 individuals who will walk no less than 300 miles during the typical tax season going door to door, not to mention the miles walked in off-season training, thus improving their heart rate by no less than 4 percentage points and increasing their life spans by no less than 7 years.  These tax men and women will need iPods to listen to during their time walking around, so Apple's profits will rise by 17% in Q1 alone.  The song "Taxman" by Stevie Ray Vaughan will reach a new high in sales on iTunes, thus bringing more revenue into Stevie's household, which will then be taken away when the tax man visits his house, because Stevie is rich.  Finally, since most people will be looking forward to tax season now, it will become a new national holiday, complete with economy-inducing activities on the order of other national holidays, like the Fourth of July, or at least St. Patrick's Day.

This is the kind of quick fix, easy-win solution that will help get the country back on its proverbial feet.  Nobody likes doing tax returns, right?  But the tax system is necessary, and people need jobs, right?  Makes sense to me.  And it beats the hell out of "fillable forms."

With everything being online these days, it really is necessary to keep a cheat sheet of all the passwords and usernames that you accumulate over time as you create accounts for various programs and websites. Before long, like it or not, we will have RFID tags inserted in our bodies, and although they may cause some initial discomfort and psychological unease, soon the built-in "calming effect" program that will surely be standard in the RFID tags will be activated, and you can get on with enjoying the benefits of these implanted devices, like not having to keep a list of passwords.  Bill payments?  No problem!  Doctor's appointments?  Scheduled automatically!  Tickets to the show?  Piece of cake!  Piece of cake?  Read your mind!  It's in your pantry now!  All of these things will be done without hassle or complication.

Does this future seem too cold and impersonal to you?  Not to worry.  To ease the transition, people dedicated to the task of traveling door-to-door will personally install your tag with just the right amount of human touch.  They'll be clad in festive colors and will greet you warmly, happy to have gotten one of the thousands of jobs that's been created under this plan I've come up with.  Let me share some of the numbers with you...

Hate to break it to you chap, but the song was ours originally.  Stevie just borrowed it.  He payed all necessary royalties of course.  They're kind of like money you have to give up from the income you receive.

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