Greek-American Stories: It’s That  #*^^@ Time Again

April 21, 2019
Phyllis “Kiki” Sembos

When I say, ‘that time’ is here again, I don’t mean your doctor’s visit, your birthday or getting that yearly checkup or your cat to a vet. I mean tax time.

Listen! I don’t like the subject, either. But, It’s one of those times that comes without fail like death and, yeah, taxes. Everyone has to do it, except politicians, drug dealers, the homeless and millionaires. If you have trouble filling out the 1040 Individual Income Tax Return, there’s a number on page 3 you can call. Then, good Luck! I tried it every time I didn’t understand a line (There’s 79 lines). And, I got, “You again? What is it this time?” Most times I’m put on hold where I have to listen to endless music I hate. Usually it’s a woman screaming her troubles out in a song. I felt great mental satisfaction picturing myself smothering the singer. Then, the musicians. There has to be some psychological reason for playing that music. I believe it is designed to mellow us. The last time I was put on hold I got a violent headache that took the starch out of me and made me more compliant. After five minutes of, ‘your call is important to us. Please wait for the next available agent. Thank you,’ my next target was the operator, telling her, “You’ve got three seconds.”

Finally hearing a human voice say, “Good Morning. How may I help you?” sounded so Godly my mind put away the evil thoughts.  And, being a civilized, reasonable citizen, I’m glad I persevered. Taking in a deep breath, I commenced speaking in normal tones.

Before making the call, I must inform you that I discovered there are certain facts you should be made aware of. So let me, as a caring friend and citizen, list them for you. First, I must impress upon you that if you don’t file your income taxes, or if you give a false address, or list a dead uncle as dependant, be prepared to wear an orange suit that is completely unbecoming, not even your size. Then, if you become belligerent and still refuse to own up to your civic duties, you could soon be occupying a cold cell and be introduced to a bunk buddy, Vito ‘the mauler’ Mutts. In case of a woman, the cell mate would be his sister, Molly Mutts. Now, she has NO sense of humor.

First, you must always place your current information in the space especially indicated at the top of the page, ‘Filing status’. Refrain from listing your dog, cat, parrot, or gold fish as exemptions. Do not list a business that failed or never existed. They really do check on that. In answering each line, deductions and additions, be aware that the tax examiners have no sense of humor. Then, neither does Vito. In fact, personnel are chosen for their resemblance to Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price, or the Hulk. You must also be made aware of the fact that our government needs our money in order to buy certain equipment like computers, fax machines, cell phones, and other ‘State to the Art’ equipment that would cost us several hundred dollars but to them, millions. You must never, ever ask for proof or receipts for those items! When I had questioned, most politely, about the cost of one of their machines, I was told very calmly, ‘next question!’ All we are required to do is send in the money, if appropriate. Don’t quibble or try to make a deal.

When I informed the tax examiner I’d called before completing the forms that I might be a little late sending in the cash, he said, “I understand. I’ll just let Vito know you’ll be a little late.” I told you they have no sense of humor. So, in closing, I beg you to try and understand what is required of you. Your duty is to send in that bag of money to help erase the national debt. (A check is very acceptable as long as, God forbid, it doesn’t bounce). Then, relax because all you have to do is worry about your personal debts, the one the tax examiner has no interest in. If you have any questions or you decide you don’t think you should be expected to pay or be responsible for the national debt, just ignore the whole thing, call your travel agent and book a trip to any remote village in Uzbekistan. When you get there, tell them I recommended the place. And, say, ‘Hi’ to my cousin. He runs a souvlaki stand there.


I’ve been issuing presidential report cards in this space since January, 2010: the conclusion of Barack Obama’s first year in office.

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