Thursday, April 15, 2010

N is for Nixon

ixon was a sort of a magician of a man.  Or maybe more like an enigma of a man.  He managed to have lots of proactive and visionary policy initiatives, yet he managed to be the only President of the United States to ever resign while in office.  He was the spearhead of all sorts of crimes and tomfoolery, yet he himself was never taken down; the carnage was always limited to those who served him.  But, like many of the public crime figured througout the history of the United States, one of the areas in which he was actually in trouble was with the tax man.
     It is Tax Day in the United States, a curious sort of day which has become important enough to show up on my Microsoft Outlook Calendar without me even putting it on there.  For those of you who might not know how things work, most people in the United States, over the course of their years worth of wages, pay more in taxes than they needed to.  They then, at the beginning of the new year, have to file documents to show just how much they actually owe, because they can take deductions, etc off of what they paid.  They have until April 15 to file those documents, or they are in deep shit with the Internal Revenue Service - the IRS.
    This leads us, the great nation of procrastination, to a curious spectacle.  Since those tax retrun form have to be post marked by April 15th to be on time, on this day, late in the evening, there will be huge lines of people at post offices across the country with people trying desperately to get their envelopes in the mail before the stroke of midnight, at which time they will all turn into pumpkins and then I guess it really won't matter anymore, because they will all be one step away from being pie, or jack-o-lanterns if they make it until October.
     And there are lots of people.  Things have become better recently as the IRS has jumped into the digital age and begun actively and agressively promoting what they call e-filing, because anything you do via the Internet just needs to have "e-" stuck in front of it.  So that has helped as, legions of procrastinators have found that is a much easier alternative to standing out in the cold and probably rain only to have to deal with a surly post office employee once they get to the head of the line.  And those people have guns.
      Inevitably there will be a reporter hanging around, with pictures of the lines, and in the larger cities there will even probably be a traffic helicopter or two hover overhead so the world can see just how many times the line wraps around the block.  It's all a neat show that will cause at least a thousand people in a thousand seedy apartments in a thousand cities around the country to freak out and realize that they forgot to do their taxes and now they have - oh - sixty seven minutes to get them filled out and make it through that line and have them in the mail.  Good luck getting your hands on a 1040 form at this point, buddy.
     So make sure your taxes are in be midnight, Company.  And if they are and you've spent your refund already like most people, sit back, relax, and enjoy, and start thinking about doing it again next year.

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