A “taxing” story

The human imagination is a wonderful thing most of the time. About a month or so ago, I got a letter from the IRS. It is always a moment of stress when they write and this time was no exception. I owed them a small amount of money from a return of a few years ago. They gave me thirty days to pay up or provide the evidence that I did not, in fact, owe any money. I called my good friend and tax guru, Erin, who solved my problem right then and there. She told me that I would get another letter from them confirming my case and absolving my debt.

The original thirty day deadline came and went without a word from the IRS. My knowledge of dealing with the IRS is restricted to the horror stories one hears at the proverbial office water cooler. With that limited knowledge and a bent toward worry, my imagination took over.

First, it would be the phone call during dinner. After insisting on my innocence, the “agent” on the phone unconvinced and absolved to get the money out of me one way or another. I would hear from them again, he said. The again (all this is going on in my imagination, mind you), would be a knock at the door at 2:00 AM. I would be drug away from hearth and home and hauled to a secret place where the agent or agents, as the case may be, would be prepared to “deal” with my insolence and stubborn refusal to admit that I am now responsible for the entirety of the US Federal debt and, by golly, I had better pay up right now if I know what’s good for me. I had images of burning lights in my face; and worse.

When the letter did come from the IRS, it was ten days after my deadline to pay up or else. I opened it with the full expectation that my life was over. I was, in fact, absolved from all guilt, thanks to my ever vigilant tax guru, Erin.

Phew. Ditched the jailhouse again.


Has this ever happened to you? We went to a friend of ours for dinner this evening. It was a pleasant affair and we had a wonderful time catching up with the doings of both families. As we are both military families, there is always a lot to talk about. The rest of this story is dedicated to those of you who have dogs. Our friends have Charlie and Bailey.

Charlie is a Beagle of some years. He seemed to be pretty timid as his sole agenda was to get me or the wife to pet him. Now, I do not speak “dog” but, if I did, any conversation with Charlie would go something like this:

Charlie: “Please pet me. I promise I won’t slobber on you.”

Me: “I ‘m trying to eat. Can we do this later?”

Charlie: “They never pet me here and the never feed me either. Please, PLEASE, pet me!

Me: I said later.”

With that, Charlie slinks away with an expression of utter rejection in the hope that I will feel guilty and change my mind. He stands a few feet away with a “poor me” look.

Then there’s Bailey. He is a large gold Labrador who has one goal and one goal only: to get me to throw a very nasty slobber-covered tennis ball again and again so he can chase it down and bring back to me to repeat the process in ad infinitum. THAT conversation would be a little different:

Bailey: Throw the ball! Throw the ball. THROW THE DANG BALL!!

Me: “Ok, just this once.” (I throw the ball. Bailey, in a mad, frantic rush, runs the ball down and returns it to me. When he gets back, I am sitting down).

Bailey: (Dumps the slobber drenched ball on my lap while I am eating) “Throw the ball! Throw the ball. THROW THE DANG BALL!!

Me: “Not right now. I’m eating.”

Bailey: AAAGGH!!! In the name of all that is holy, THROW THE DAD-GUM BALL ALREADY!!!

After a time, Bailey gave up on me and dumped his slobber-ball on my wife’s lap with the same urgent request.  All the while, Charlie rotated between me and my wife with the poor pitiful look on his face that said “Please pet me. Nobody loves me.”

When we left, both dogs were last seen standing at the door, “Please pet me! Throw the dang ball, will ya!! “