Scratch n' Win Some
My Dearest Winsome Scratch,
It is fortunate you should ask, for I just completed a conversation quite germane to your quandary. I had been benignly supping upon the entrails of six poodles who had, upon being introduced to my pressurized tank, detonated into exquisite calyxes of goo, when my benighted former assistant Rob wandered in brandishing some sort of black sheet of glass upon which was displayed numbers and words arranged in an occult and disturbing order.
"Yo, Lord A., did you see this tax thing that Dave-o coded up over the weekend!?"
He was so cheery and beside of himself, that he pressed the device to the glass of my tank and I was forced, without equivocation, to take it all in with my optically perfect eye.
"FROM WHENCE DID YOU ACQUIRE THE MONEYS FOR THIS iPADULUM?" I asked, incredulous. "HAVE YOU BEEN MAKING OF THE DRUGGED DEALINGS AGAIN, ROB?"
Ignoring me, Rob replied, "Man, I had my dad do that form and he flipped."
Slurping at the blood-caked entrails, I made a faux-nod, and then paused, realizing that I had no notion of what I might be assenting to, what might dwell through his glass darkly. "ROB," I asked with caution, "WHAT ARE YOU SHOWING ME?"
He leaned against my tank and nickered his head to indicate the dark glass, its colors and forms sharp, like slicks of oil hung just beneath the meniscus of frigid waters.
"Check it, you just navigate over to Taxes.poormojo.org, you tell the magic robot what you paid in taxes, which include all of that FICA shit for Social Security and whatever, and you click 'calculate'. Then the pixies what drive the engine check out the budget for 2009, figure out the percentages the government spent on all of the different shit it does, and BAMN!"
He slapped the tank with such force that the brain of dachshund was dislodged from my beak where it had been stuck for six hours; it drifted with a whisper to the sand at the floor of my tank.
"See this shit," he held up the screen, "This is what I paid for last year. I paid about $6,500 bucks in taxes, so I chipped in $1,400 bucks for your pretty little war in wherever, $1,300 bucks so granny doesn't have to eat cat food and shit, and $176 bucks for the expressway system."
"INDEED," I faux-nodded again, savoring the sweet taste of fear in the dog blood, and somewhat relieved to learn that I was not being ensorcled with a dark scrying glass, but rather bored with accountancy; ah, the entertainments of Semites. "AND, BY CHANCE, DO YOU GET THE NETFLIXING ON THAT DEVICE?"
"What? Yeah, I guess. Damn, though, man, you ain't listening a bit, are you?"
I considered that the iPad was indeed a reasonable device, if for no other reason that it would result in Rob masturbating in the restroom stall again, instead of in his cubicle.
"Like, check this out, my uncle Lockard drew a salary of $450,000 bucks last year. Let's forget investment income, and his producers fees and shit, and just look at the salary he drew working to unwind the last bits of Miramax out of Disney, right? That guy paid $131,871 smackeroos in taxes last year, right? He fucking bought the military a low-end Lexus for that money. He's all like, 'roast fucking Palestine to glass,' and shit, with even the fucking sarcastic air quotes on 'Palestine,' but I'm thinking I might send him a fucking email and be like, MAN, can you afford to kill so many rock-tossers? He's all dollars-and-sense, you know?"
I faux-nodded yet again. The iPad's screen was vexing and beautiful in its sharp acuity; I wondered upon what it might be like to watch my weekly Glees enacted upon it.
"But then, like, I run this crew for my da', right? Keeping the site maintenance straight, pulling the permits, all that OSHA paper and whatnot, and we've got these guys that drive truck, off-load shit, work like fucking dogs, and are all like 'Keep your guv'mint outta my medicare you communist Muslim bastards!' and I just want to, like, share this, right? Like, Rickie, who's been working with us for years, he makes like what I make and he has kids and shit, and he pays, you know, $4500, right? I can be all like, 'Look, Rickie, some guy lost his eyes in Afghanistan and, like, your totally annual contribution for helping that dude—and this is for the WHOLE YEAR, this is what you chip for 365 days of helping this dude learn how to live without fucking eyes—is, like, the same amount you pay for fucking Comcast for ONE month. And there's 30,000 poor motherfuckers just like G.I. Joe-No-Fucking-Eyes. So, quit with the 'taxed enough already' bullshit, and stop voting for these fucking wars that you are never gonna pay off and shit.'"
He paused and reflected.
"I won't say it like that, you dig? But I mean, damn, Rickie and me put together spend $10 bucks a year on advanced energy research. Can you believe that shit? And he whines when gas prices crest, like $2.90! I could chip in another five bucks direct if it meant doubling our investments in figuring out how to not buy any more fucking oil, right?"
"Shit just needs to get real, you know what I am saying? You tell a guy 'X percent of whatever goes to this,' or 'we drop Y-hundred-million bucks on that,' and it don't mean shit; but you say 'Hey, Rickie, you personally paid $977.64 for national defense last year; was that a good buy? Do you wanna spend more on that shit or less?'—that's something a guy can get his hands around, you know? Or turn it around, and be like 'Dude, you spent, like, ten bucks on federal correctional facilities last year; there ain't no more juice to squeeze out of that lemon, so quite bitching about cushy-comfy prisons with cable TV blowing up our national debt and taxes and shit; art classes for felons ain't the fucking problem.'"
I am made to understand that there are games upon the iPad; wonderful, mesmerizing games. Suddenly, in myself, I realize there is a desire to share in these. "I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE, ROB!" I emulated gusto on my electronic voice box using an algorithm the chimps had developed last year.
After Rob had left, I made a call to Mr. Leeks, my accountant.
"WHAT DO I PAY IN TAXES, MR. LEEKS, CPA?"
"You don't," he replied.
"AH, EXCELLENT. WHY?"
"When I reorganized after bankruptcy, I established us as a foundation. We write you off as an educational exhibit."
"IS THAT WHY CHILDREN ARE VOMITING IN THE LOBBY AFTER WITNESSING MY LUNCH TAKING?"
"Cleaning bill is a write off, too, sir. The balance of our ample profits are 'lost' to capital improvement, maintenance, debt interest, and depreciation. Also, you give generously to the United Negro College Fund."
"CAN I HAVE AN iPAD?"
"VERY WELL. EXCELLENT WORK, LEEKS."
In any event, I hazard to suggest that it is for the best that you never win some million dollars, Winsome Scratch; even if you were to do so as an abject indigent, your tax burden would be some $327,644; $2958.89 of this would go to fund federal law enforcement activities, and another $3748.02 to manage natural resources and environmental activities, and I can only imagine that such bumps in their budgets would, in the end, only serve to frustrate my otherwise wholesome and beneficent free-market practices.
But, on the upside, barring outstanding debt, you would be able to afford an iPad of your very own—or perhaps two, and thus have on hand one to share with a friend. (hint, hint)
Fondly I Remain,
Your Giant Squid
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson