Seth Brown | The Pun Also Rises: A Lazy American's lament — the tax man cometh
Editor's note: Massachusetts residents have until April 19 to file their tax returns this year.
NORTH ADAMS >> April 15 is a terrible day, so if you get a sinking feeling, you're not alone. The same thing happened to Abraham Lincoln and the Titanic on April 15, although in your case the cause is probably that income tax returns are due. As T.S. "Tax Shelter" Eliot once wrote:
"April is the cruellest month, bleeding money out of the dead wallet, mixing enmity and raw ire."
Nobody really enjoys paying money to the government because they presume the government will waste it. But of course waste increases as geographical area increases. Taxes you pay to your city are important, because that's how they provide necessary services for the city where you live, such as schools, roads and free public music provided by people who drive around with the windows down and the radio up way too loud.
State taxes, meanwhile, are often frivolously spent on things such as Boston. And federal taxes are used to fill swimming pools with $100 bills for Congress to swim in.
So it's no surprise that people aren't terribly eager to pay their taxes. Many people wait until the last minute and line up at the post office on April 15. Personally, I wait until the penultimate minute, and send things on April 14. Nowadays there are also many extensions, so some people send in their taxes in May or June or 2024. Others, like Willie Nelson, don't send their taxes in at all.
This year in spite of the presidential election approaching, there hasn't actually been a lot of discussion about tax policy. Naturally, Sanders supporters hope he will remove taxes on all of the struggling poor people and just heavily tax the lazy rich, while Trump supporters hope he will remove taxes on the hard-working businessmen and heavily tax the lazy poor. If there's one thing Trump supporters and Sanders supporters agree on, that's one more than anyone expected. But that one thing might be that lazy people should be taxed more.
This is terrible news for me, as a Lazy American, which is not yet a group that is federally protected against discrimination. We're not fighting for our own bathrooms, just a bathroom on the same floor as us so we don't have to take the stairs to use it. But the Lazy American community faces lots of discrimination and hate speech on a regular basis, from both sides of the aisle. We are often unfairly blamed for the decline of civilization, when nothing could be further from the truth. Statistically, Lazy Americans are much less likely than any other group to be involved in a murder, because it seems like a lot of effort.
Still, the prejudice remains. And worst of all, our religious artifacts such as beds and pillows are still not tax deductible. While churches continue to skate by without paying any taxes at all, devoted Lazy Americans are being taxed on their beds, and we can't even hide our money in the mattress. This goes against not only our own religious precepts, but those of Christianity as well. As it says in Proverbs 22:27, "If you have nothing with which to pay, Why should he take your bed from under you?
So I prefer to hide in my bed during these taxing times, because when I am stressed I seek comfort, or at least a comforter. I keep holding out hope for tax reform, but the closest I've gotten was filling the forms out twice, which felt like a waste. And this waste land is precisely why April is the cruelest month.
Seth Brown is an award-winning humor columnist, the author of "From God To Verse", and admits Caesar didn't like the 15th of March either. His website (Seth's, not Caesar's) is RisingPun.com.