When I was younger and stupid, I used to do my own taxes. The scene was not one you’d want to stumble upon. I wouldn’t liken it to a murder scene, but it might have resembled the scene right before a murder. I had paperwork spread out all over the table, the phone ready to dial the hell that is the automated help line at the federal government (try it! it’s fun!), and a boatload of sugar to keep me high and believing I could do math. I could not. Hair pulling and crying were not uncommon, if cliché. My tax returns were always tear stained and soggy, and I hoped the auditors would take that into account.
My mom tells me the AARP does some returns for free. I cannot wait to be old. Until then, I have Brian. He’s my tax guy. I bring him a folder of paperwork (all organized; none of that messy receipt business), and for a hundred bucks, Brian provides me pure bliss. While we chat about his grandchildren (I know! He can talk and do math at the same time!), I hand him my W-2 and dividend statements and sit back while he does this fancy math with amazing accuracy. The tax program on his computer might be responsible for this, but it doesn’t matter. To me, Brian is God.
Then, a few days later, a miracle happens: a chunk of cash is deposited in my account by the same federal government folks I used to curse while on hold with them for 4 hours. I plan a trip with the money, and while I’m away, relaxing on a chaise longue in the tropics, I think of Brian back in his office sweating over a late return of some poor slob who missed the deadline, and I send him a silent thank you.