Tax Day and Other Oddities

by Tom Wacaster
(originally written April 15, 2015)

Before you brand me as a zealot opposed to government occupation, overtaxing, and bureaucratic domination, let me assure you that I take Romans chapter 13 very seriously; as should all Christians. April 15th has long been the butt of jokes, one-liners, and humorous stories dating back, no doubt, to the moment when our Congress came up with a federal income tax and then designated this date for the filing and collection of said taxes.

Ronald Reagan is credited with the following: “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” A generation earlier, Winston Churchill observed, “There is no such thing as a good tax.” Will Rogers, one whose wisdom was ahead of his time, humorously observed, “We don’t seem to be able to check crime, so why not legalize it and then tax it out of business?” Here is one of my favorite tongue-in-cheek articles regarding our obligation to pay taxes and its effect on the ability of some to give to charitable contributions. Evidently (whether real or imaginary) someone was asked one too many times to give to some charitable organization, and thus sent the following letter:

Dear sir: In reply to your request to send a check, I wish to inform you that present conditions of my bank account make it almost impossible. My shattered financial condition is due to: Federal laws, State laws, County laws, outlaws and in-laws. Through these laws, I am compelled to pay a business tax, amusement tax, school tax, water tax, state tax, gas tax, light tax, income tax, phone tax, sales tax, food tax, furniture tax and excise tax. I am required to get a business license, car license, operator’s license, truck license, not to mention a marriage license and a dog license. I am also required to contribute to every society and organization which the genius of man is capable of bringing to life: to women’s relief, the unemployed relief, and the gold diggers relief; also to every hospital and charitable institution in the city including the Community Chest, Red Cross, Purpose Cross, White Cross and Double Cross, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, YMCA, YWCA, all way stations for wayward girls, Boys Ranch and Boys Town, Girls Ranch and Girls Town. For my own safety I am required to carry health insurance, life insurance, auto insurance, fire insurance, property insurance, liability insurance, earthquake insurance, tornado insurance, unemployment insurance and old age insurance. My business is so governed that it is no easy matter to find out who owns it. I am expected, inspected, suspected, disrespected, rejected, dejected. I am examined, re-examined, informed, required, summoned, fined, commanded and compelled until I provide an inexhaustible supply of money for every known need, desire or hope of the human race. Simply because I refuse to donate to something or other, I am boycotted, talked about, lied about, held up, held down and robbed, until I am almost ruined. I can tell you honestly that except for a miracle that happened I would not be able to enclose this check. The wolf that comes to so many doors nowadays just had pups in my kitchen. I sold them and here is the money.

I don’t know who wrote that, but I chuckle every time I read it anew. I hope these personal observations about taxes will help those of you who plan to burn the midnight oil tonight in order to get your forms stamped by the local Post Office before the day expires.

As for the “other oddities,” I’ll share with you a little column I wrote almost ten years ago. Keep the time frame in mind as you read my comments:

I want my readers to know that I am not in the habit of reading the tabloids at the local newspaper stand. I certainly would not spend the money on such papers, though I have been tempted to buy one just to see what lies behind the front page “eye catchers.” Well, I was recently visiting in the home of some long-time acquaintances (I’ll not mention their name, but their initials are Ed and Nelda Clark), and this good sister in Christ handed me the March 20, 2006 issue of the “Weekly World News.” I was assured that someone gave it to her, so I was relieved to know that she, too, was very cautious as to where she obtained her daily dose of news. The front headline immediately caught my eye: “Computer Virus Spreads to Humans.” I was a little skeptical, but my skepticism immediately disappeared when I noticed the disclaimer on the front of the paper: “The World’s Only Reliable Newspaper.” So, with that assurance, it was full speed ahead to get the scoop on this amazing technological and medical discovery. As I turned to page 26, the sub-header read: “Watch out PC owners. There’s something far worse for your computer than malicious hacking: dry hacking.” No doubt there had been an extensive study of this malicious virus to human infection, so I read with great interest of the first (out of who knows how many hundreds or thousands of cases) official report of the symptoms and treatment. The symptoms included a repeated warning that would appear on the screen, “system error: you will lose all unsaved information” (sic). The computer Tech had never seen anything like this and concluded that the “computer had somehow caught a human virus.” Back at Tech (no doubt the name of their research lab), experiments with nanotechnology suggested that “biological viruses could bind with particles of silicon and infect a machine’s microprocessors.” The result? Elevated machine temperature, accelerated activity, just like a fever; there was green and yellow discharge from the machine’s port, called a ‘runny node.’” After careful study the folks at Tech decided to issue a warning: “It’s only a matter of time before the machine’s modified strain starts infecting people.” Their worst fears evidently came to pass. One “unofficial documented case” told of a man catching a computer virus: “Pete knew a professor back at Tech who accidentally broke a vial full of silicone-clad viruses. He was never the same. He was freezing all the time – not cold, but blank and unresponsive, with an hourglass shaped glint in his eye. And his personality changed. Like a failing hard drive, he was no longer as magnetic. He also suffered memory loss and printing problems. He had to write all of his equations in cursive. The professor’s hair turned a lovely copper before he passed away.” The cure: “We recommend staying away from an afflicted computer and covering its fans with handkerchiefs. It’s not worth the risk. We can treat an infected machine with a little warmth from the motherboard. But if you’re exposed, it’s a one-way trip to reboot hill.”

It is very doubtful that anyone who read that report in “The World’s Only Reliable Newspaper” actually believed a word of what was printed, but it was “interesting,” and provided a really good laugh. But you know what? There are some folks out there who are telling stories about religious experiences that are just as incredible, just as ridiculous, and just as unbelievable. When I read of someone paying $500 for a cheese sandwich wrapped in a sealed baggie for no other reason than the fact that it had an image of some departed saint, or someone claiming that they saw a man’s leg grow back after someone slapped him on the forehead, or someone wallowing in the church isle and frothing at the mouth, my interest is peaked for a moment, but upon further investigation, I realize that these religious “stories” are just as incredible, perhaps even more incredible, than someone claiming that a computer virus can somehow be transmitted to human beings. And while we may laugh at the tabloid that ran this most unbelievable story, for some reason I don’t get the impression that a lot of what we read and hear in the religious tabloids today are really that funny. Do you?

Have a happy Tax Day and watch out for computer viruses. Meanwhile, I hope you have a good week (or what is left of it).

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *