Vol. 2, Issue 16, April 24, 2004
Education for the Otiose
The Apesheet

The Only Certain Things are Death and Taxes

Ezekiel F. Watley, Esq.

Most regrettably, this tired Truism was proved altogether too True last week when my estimable Accountant, Mr. Jarvis Lorry, went to meet his Maker peaceably in his Sleep at the very venerable Age of Ninety-Four. He was a Bastion of the financial Community, a man who Reveled in performing his job Well and Punctually. He was not a Social man: to be sure - but neither did he fall Prey to Miserliness such as that Scrooge fellow. Lorry was devoted to the Purity of his Art, and admired a well-completed Tax Return as you or I might admire a Monet.

However, it turns out that Mr. Lorry happened to Expire prior to completing my Taxes. This left me in a most Awkward plight, for following the Funeral services I had but One Day to file my papers with Uncle Sam. Well do I know the Costs of crossing that avuncular presence in matters Financial! To secure the Services of a competent Accountant on April Fourteen was impracticable. There was nothing For it: I had to face the Deed Myself.

A fresh bottle of The Balvenie, a fresh bottle of Ink, a clean Blotter, my Ledger: I assembled the Tools of the Accounting Trade. Now was not a time for Dallying, nor for Unlocked Doors - I turned the Key to ensure that my Nephew did not interfere in the Harmony of my Thoughts or (more likely) my Cheque-Book, which I keep hidden from him at All Times.

The pastel Boxes and Lines are deceptively Clear. Dependents? - I count All my Employees as dependent upon the success and Vigor of my Publication Business; I list them All. I am tempted to list Ephram twice, for that he is Twice the Hassle of all the rest put Together, but refrain on the suspicion that our Government might not make such Allowances. "W-2 Forms?" Well, it says to attach Any which you may have Received; and since I received None, the reasonable recourse is to Attach None. Easily done.

And now to the Tricky Task of my Deductions. The instructions are Clear, and I scrupulously Note all that is Required for a man of my Station to Successfully conduct Business. My attire is of course Essential, and my bills at the Haberdashery extensive. No gentleman can be without a Walking-Stick for every Occasion; it is in addition a Medical Device. Surely the equipment in my Office is all deductible, from the Analytical Difference Engines to the carved ebony Umbrella-Stand. Likewise, those Scotches which I keep on hand for Public Consumption with Clients and visiting Dignitaries surely must count. They are but a Fraction of my collection, but in they Go.

Alas, Mr. Lorry, how you must have Worked in years past! I had no Idea that itemizing all my Expenses would be so Tedious. It took the Day and Night, but at last I finished. The final touch: a suitable Flourish on my Signature.

And here, I must Diverge I think in sentiment from the majority of my fellow Americans, for I am not Bitter at the Internal Revenue Service. Taxes are the Lifeblood of our Country, the very petrol that Fuels the mighty Engines of our society. I ask for Much from my government: paved Streets, a sound Educational system, clean Flags above our Post Offices; the list is Long Indeed. It is not Unreasonable for my Country to ask for a bit from Me in turn.

However, according to my Calculations, it is the Government which owes Me a bit this year. Rather strange, since I have not paid Anything through the course of the Year; and Mr. Lorry's calculations always ended up with me preparing a Bank-Draft for the IRS. Perhaps I simply got Lucky this year. I should do my own Taxes more often! I can hardly Wait to hear Back from the IRS.

And you, good gentlefolk, please raise your Glasses in these Taxing Days to those noble Men who selflessly labor to Balance our Books. This drink is for You, good Mr. Lorry, wherever you may Be.


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