17 April 2012

happy tax day

I am the daughter of two accountants, and so I believe that Tax Day should be its own capitalized sort of holiday.

It would be celebrated with confetti made from tax forms and a very detailed cake that would look like an adding machine. It would be a chocolate cake, of course, and the accountants could feel as gleeful as accountants can feel* as they ate all those numbers.

Perhaps there could be a pinata that looks like a spacey client who can't find all her forms and forgot to sign on the dotted line even though there was a very obvious Post-it Note arrow pointing at the line and screaming: SIGN HERE.

The punch would probably be very, very spiked.


When I was a little girl, I once told my parents, "I hate taxis."

Being a child from a medium-sized town in Iowa with very few taxis, this was not a normal thing for me to say. I could hate the fish that tickled my toes when I swam in the Mississippi or I could hate it when there was a long line at the Dairy Queen—things very much in my experience—but to hate taxis seemed out of place.

They asked a few probing questions, trying to figure out what my little brain was trying to communicate, and they finally pulled it out of me: I hated tax season.

I was still working on my ability to separate words, apparently, and classify the world in recognizable chunks. Every time my parents talked about tax season:
Daddy has to work on Saturday because it's tax season.

We'll go on vacation after tax season.

Here comes tax season!
What I heard was:
Daddy has to work on Saturday because it's taxis.

We'll go on vacation after taxis.

Here comes taxis!
And so I hated taxis.

Further adding to my confusion: I spent many hours at my parents' office, playing with/eating the rubber cement, writing Important Things on a not-needed typewriter, being told not to mess with the files, etc.

And I noticed, in all those hours, that my dad had a little rolly-thing, much like a piece of plywood on wheels, that he used to move stacks of tax returns up to his office, where he would, I assumed, cover them in rubber cement and type up Important Things to put in them.

I watched him wheel the cart and say things like, "I love tax season!" and my childlike logic told me this: That cart has something to do with taxis. WAIT. That cart could be—I really think it is—it has to be a taxi!

I hated that cart and all that it implied.

And yet when it wasn't tax season and that cart wasn't as needed, I was allowed to play on it. My sister would pull me from one end of the office to the other, and in those moments, I loved the cart and taxis.

It was a rough time for me until I figured out that:
  • Taxis are actually cars that you ride in when you're in big cities. You should love taxis, especially when your feet are tired.
  • Careening on a cart is not the most dignified office behavior.
  • Tax season was a necessary evil if I wanted to go on vacation.


Happy Tax Day! I hope you've prepared the confetti and punch for your accountant. They deserve it. They probably also deserve a ride in a taxi.

*I have to put in this asterisked note after even suggesting that accountants are not gleeful people. They get a pretty bad rap as the dull bean counters of the world, which sounds more like a name that should be applied to soybean farmers. I have never seen my parents count beans, but I can vouch—and back it up with many stories—that they do not fit the stereotype of accountants. They are not dull; my mother has a tattoo, for Pete's sake, and my dad once took my very pregnant mother to Canada with plans to hitchhike and backpack in the Canadian Rockies, which, I don't think, was top on my mother's list of things to do while about to give birth. No, they're not dull people at all.

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