Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dear Internal Revenue Service:

I haven't sent my check yet. I know, I know-penalties, perp walks, debtor's prison, baloney sandwiches. My future is bleak. But listen-I filed weeks ago, online, floating pages of gibberish across the cyberwaves into your loving e-hands. You were kind enough to accept my meticulously-prepared return (thanks be to Turbo Tax Deluxe), and for that I extend my sincere gratitude. Problem is, immediately after filing, a sense of relief so profound overcame me that I can barely remember anything since that moment. I know I wrote the check, put it in a pink envelope, and assigned it a place of prestige on our kitchen counter, which is to say I threw it on the ever-increasing pile of stuff I hadn't had time for yet. Grocery receipts, RSVP cards, a cap for a missing marker, expired coupons, a caterpillar made from pipe cleaners and macaroni-everybody has one of these, yes? A "hot spot", I've heard it called. Mine used to be relegated to a wire bin I'd carry from room to room, hoping to organize the thing as time allowed, but since we all know what the road to hell is paved with, it may not come as a big surprise that I mostly just added to it, creating a whole-house potpourri of clutter. A therapist once asked me if I thought the bin was a metaphor for my life, or at least my brain, and whereas before a modicum of pride may have prevented me from admitting the uncanny resemblance, I can now say quite candidly that not only did that mess of papers and projects and pages torn from magazines speak volumes about my mental condition, but now, having graduated from the bin and basically allowed myself run of the place, can I get my money back? Not from you, IRS, I mean for my, um...self-improvement sessions. Clearly, the bin-as-metaphor portion of the program didn't take, and with the interest I'm incurring for being late, now by a full four days, I'm going to need some more bank to buy you off. And again, IRS, to be clear, you know I would never deign to ask you for anything but a teeny bit more time, and maybe an ounce of understanding, because we've all been there, right? Well, maybe not you-I'm sure you're perfectly organized. You with your green eye shade and your ledger. Your countertops are uncluttered, your closet color-coded, and let's face it: you iron your underwear, sharp crease. Sigh. You wouldn't understand. But-and I mean this-it's okay. You just keep being who you are, and I'll go dig through the recycling, because sometimes, and this might seem crazy, I take an entire pile of papers and I recycle them. I don't even look to make sure there's nothing important hidden in there, like a sushi bar BOGO or letter from Ed MacMahon. I just chuck it, 'cause I'm a rebel. And who knows? I might find the check-I've found other stuff before, like a fifty-dollar bill, and everyone knows you can't recycle money! My point is, it'll turn up, so you can keep your expertly-pressed Dockers on. I would never deliberately hold out on you-remember 2001 when I forgot to send in all the forms? And then in 'o5 when I got everything in on time but neglected to sign on the dotted line? Oh, and last year, after I never got my refund, I had to call the delinquency department because, and I'm just a layperson here, that seemed appropriate given the fact that you were late? Misunderstandings, easily corrected. And by the way, I waived the interest on that last bit. Consider it a gift, or better yet, subtract it from whatever it is I owe you, and let's be friends again. Only, if we're going to be friends, can we talk about the pants......?

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