Selected pairing for this post: Enjoy!
Hey, thanks for having me over. I hope you don’t mind, but you did say, “Make yourself at home.”
- Performed maximum quaffage on every partial bottle of whiskey.
- Deleted all West Wing from your DVR and recorded a full season of Honey Boo Boo.
- Adjusted the hot water heater to maximum.
- Rubbed every towel on my butt rather than use toilet paper.
- Let your cat outside.
- Used your wi-fi to download the entire Metallica library with BitTorrents.
- Dug your coffee can of cash out of the backyard.
- Unlocked the windows and the side door on the garage.
- Licked your ketchup bottle clean.
- Went “two turntables and a microphone” on your collection of LPs.
- Pushed over your hoarding piles in the garage and took a nap.
- Spent your remaining iTunes balance on Demi Lovato.
- Cleaned my genitals with your toothbrush.
- Used your mom’s ashes to refill the litter box.
Don’t be angry. All of these are considered normal back home.
I’m already thinking ahead to next Christmas and that I’ll likely make a dish. Perhaps something that I can’t pronounce like bolognese. Meat is definitely a requirement.
What happens when you try to come up with a menu to appease seven human beings, each with differing dietary restrictions, penchants, picadillos, likes, dislikes, preferences, predilections, disinclinations, propensities, and predispositions?
Answer: Exponential permutations.
Good news. It looks like we’ll only need 128 different dishes to satisfy everyone.
What the fuck is wrong with me?! There may be people in my neighborhood, but let me tell you what they never do. They never do shit – for me – for free. We’re talking about outside the realm of possibility here.
The mechanic never says, “Hey, Tom. Your car has a leaky head gasket. I’ll fix it for free.”
The brain surgeon never says, “Let’s whip that tumor out of that precious little head. No charge!”
The butcher doesn’t say, “Fella, you sure look like you could use a New York strip. Think fast!”
Me? I was dropped on my head as a wee child. (This is scientific extrapolation. It’s the only explanation that fits the facts.) Computer geek. Programmer. Webmaster. A true modern day Renaissance man. And the only time in my life I ever run is when I can give my shit away for free.
“Yes, I’d be happy to help you with your website in my spare time. Before spending any money – about anything – talk to me first. I’ll look out for you. I’ll protect you from being gouged. You paid $8,000 for your website? Yes, that affirms my opinion of humanity.”
If I have skills that are useful I figure, what the hell, why not help parasitic life forms who happen to be trapped on the same plane as myself?
I don’t ask much in return. A sincere word of “thanks” would be more than enough. Good form dictates, though, that some effort at appearances be made. It’s like pretending to reach for your wallet after a meal when the other person wants to pick up the tab and have you absolutely no intention. Anything less than that minimal effort is bad form.
Are you enjoying national tax day? Are your taxes done? Or have you committed a boo boo?
The local news has been reporting the scam for months. Clever identity thieves somehow are able to take a minimal piece of information, like a social security number, and use it to abramoff with someone else’s tax refund.
The most unbelievable part is that they are somehow able to get around the world famous tight security at the IRS.
There’s one for you, nineteen for me.
–The Beatles, Taxman
Ah. A story problem. Math will elucidate the tax bracket faced by the The Beatles. 1 + 19 = 20. So the tax rate (the 19 for the taxman) is 19/20. My calculator tells me that equals .95 aka 95 percent. Yes, The Beatles were in the 95 percent tax bracket. Says Wikipedia, “As their earnings placed them in the top tax bracket in the United Kingdom, the Beatles were liable to a 95% supertax introduced by Harold Wilson’s Labour government.”
Hearing about this scam over and over again, and how it apparently worked, I began to formulate my plan. I was going to
steal the Declaration of Independence file for Mitt Romney’s tax refund. With that I’d finally have enough money to retire, move to a beach on Zihuatanejo and hang out with Andy Dufresne and Ellis “Red” Redding.
All I had to do was get my hands on Mitt Romney’s W-2 forms. Dammit, foiled again!
Like I tried to teach my son when he was younger, there is no $20 dollar bill fairy. If you lose your money, there is no force in the universe that will say, “Tell me all about it. Here, allow me to give you some more.” It just don’t work that way. What’s gone is always gone and it always stays that way. So don’t lose that $20 dollar bill.
Meanwhile, though, apparently the IRS is in the habit of giving refunds to the wrong people. The bad people. And that got me to wondering. Is there a tax fairy?
Think of it this way: Let’s say I owe you $20. Then, for whatever reason, I give your money to Bob. Does this mean I no longer owe you a debt? I doubt you’d agree. You likely say, “I don’t care who you did what to for how many cookies. I want my $20. Guido here is about to offer some encouragement to your kneecaps.”
The simple point I’m trying to make is that the IRS being fooled by criminals should not alleviate their responsibility to give people their own money back. So you gave the money to Bob? Boo freakin’ hoo.
If not, then I suggest a new tax form. Let’s call it the 7734-PROX-EZ.
- Line 1: Amount of tax you owe.
- Line 2: Amount of money you gave Bob. (Enter amount of line 1.)
- Line 3: Amount you own the IRS: (Subtract Line 1 from Line 2.)
- Line 4: Sign full name to indicate your tax burden this year is a mulligan.
If the IRS isn’t being a tax fairy for the victims of crime then I’m sure they’ll understand.
Last, but not least, one other simple concept:
- The guy who threw a rock and smashed your window to bits? He owns the glass store.
- The guy who slashed the whitewalls on your car? He owns the tire store.
- The people who make computer viruses? The makers of your favorite anti-virus software.
- The company that makes tax filing software? They vigorously oppose efforts to make filing taxes simpler.
This is all, of course, predicted by GUNT, my Grand Unification Negativity Theory for everything.
In case that last bullet point is somehow unclear, let me say this:
It looks like there is a tax fairy after all. He just works a bit differently (more sinister and evil) than even I expected. And his name is TurboTax. I try to be negative but sometimes even I can be schooled.
Well played, TurboTax.
My wife and I were out to dinner and having our usually jolly time. Things were clicking. My jokes were firing on all cylinders. I was witty. Our repartee was fast and furious on a highly intellectual level.
As we exited the restaurant I was feeling pretty good. (It could happen.) I saw four people behind us. They were far enough back that I could have let the door close and no slight would have been perceived. I decided to be nice and waited to hold open the door.
They came through single file. As she passed, the first person actually said, I kid you not, “Thank you.”
Wow. It’s a modern day miracle. I’m now that much closer to sainthood. I was momentarily stunned and at a loss for words. As quickly as I could I responded with, “You’re welcome.”
Oops. By then the third person was already walking by. She heard what I said and turned and looked at me. With dagger eyes. Of hatred and death.
Ah. She thought I was talking to her and assumed I was being snotty because she decidedly did not bother to say thank you.
Good intentions: 0. Crass misunderstandings: 1.
Bad form, Mr. Smee. Bad form.
And now some politeness tips from yours truly.
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Before we can play, we need to know a few things. Like, what is a game? My attempt at a definition would be something like this:
Game – A competitive activity with participants, rules and objectives, and outcomes which are determined by strength, skill, or luck. A game is an activity severely perverted by the presence of humans.
Certain outcomes are deemed to be of value, others are not. The outcomes we like are known as winning. The ones we don’t are losing.
Too much emphasis on winning and losing can make the game unpleasant or even harmful, usually to the detriment of the “loser” but also, in many cases, to both sides.
I postulate that a game without rules is meaningless. If we sit down to a nice game of chess and you declare your opening move, “My pawn jetpacks above the board, whips out dual blasters and lazer-beams all your bitches” before sweeping my pieces to the floor, you have not won the game. At least not in terms of the defined rules.
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I’ve done something more notable than even Michael Phelps winning eight gold medals. (Yawn.)
I went out in the world and listened. To another person. Hells to the yeah.
It was the most startling experience.
A conversational pause does not mean the person has finished speaking.
–Tom B. Taker
Interpreting every single pause since the dawn of time as “my turn to talk” means you are an asshole.
–Tom B. Taker
My wife was speaking to me. I was listening. Wow. I know. It can happen. Okay, okay. Stay calm. Don’t blow it. Keep it together, man. So far so good.
Then she paused.
This was an industrial heavy-duty kind of a pause. A good ten seconds. In today’s world that is literally an eternity. I had my feelers out. Was she done? Was she waiting on me to comment? Was it my turn?
I still don’t know what came over me but I decided to wait. I was in it for the long haul.
Then, simply, she continued. And she expressed an additional thought that added more to what she had just previously said. A thought that, if I had interrupted, I would never have heard for the rest of my life.
This is it, I thought! The land of milk and honey over the rainbow. That land that assholes never get to see.
It was so earth shattering that a few days later I even tried it again.
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