April 18, 2014

Death & Taxes. ~ Jeffrey Bowen


Death and taxes—the two things that we all loathe the most.

I have both avoided, and then met, the deadline of April 15th without dying.

The transition from a brutal winter to a welcome spring is marred annually by the arduous process of data collection, tedious forms, ever changing rules, and the sinking feeling that we will, once again, owe more than we have saved for that much needed vacation.

These alarming topics are, oddly, the bread and butter of community servants that we love, such as the cousin who works as a CPA, the friend’s husband who makes a small fortune in Tax Law, and that lovely woman on Facebook who posts those marvelous sayings about grief and the passing of time.

They are also the turf of the tolerable. This is the fodder of professional fundraisers, who seem nice enough, but log hundreds of hours in intimate conversation with elderly patrons about the eventuality of passing, plans for continuation in perpetuity, and incentives for transfer without taxes.

Here also lies innuendo for legions of insurance brokers, who remind us that the increasingly costly monthly installments will provide peace of mind for forlorn families, in the event of fire, theft, collision, prolonged illness, disability and death.

It is worth noting that while death and taxes are, without a doubt, the true power of politicians—from the local councilman working out of a storefront office in a marginal urban neighborhood to the nation’s Commander and Chief—we consider such things to be essentially, beyond our control, and know that even the most powerful senators and lobbyists fear the taxman almost as much as the undertaker.

4-15-14 will remain notable as a rarely occurring palindrome and for a full moon in the midst of a spectacular lunar eclipse that began shortly after 4:15 am. We now know that this eclipse created a Blood Moon, which came just days after a rare planetary alignment of Mars, Earth and the Sun. It was the beginning of a series of Blood Moons that some say mark the Biblical “End of Days.”

That, however, is a story for another day.

For now, it will suffice to say that I am alive and well, the current bills are paid, and the late spring snowstorm that blocked many mid-westerners view of these stirring, astrological and metaphysical events, has passed, and with it, the longest and most miserable winter since 1977.

Perhaps, now, we can focus on spring-like things, such as cleaning up, straightening out, planting seeds, embracing life, spending time in the sun, and hoping for many more years of calculating and paying our taxes before that other day comes.

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Apprentice Editor: Karissa Kneeland / Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: flickr

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