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Death, Taxes And Dreams

If you didn’t already know, today is tax day, well for most of us anyway. (I guess there are a few of you–or maybe more than a few–who don’t “celebrate” like the rest of us, if you know what I mean.)


I don’t really understand taxes. Don’t get me wrong. I understand the premise; that we need to pay “our fair share” (quotation marks indicating a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor) for certain services we receive from what I will call public entities (so as not to sound political or just pissed off).


The thing that gets me in a tangle (and maybe you too), is that I don’t understand why taxes have to be so complicated. (Isn’t that what the Rubik’s Cube, the Friday Sudoku and James Joyce books are for?)


Let me say right here and now that I respect those who understand taxes (and along with that, why they’re so complicated), and even more than that, I appreciate those masochists who like that kind of stuff, choose to work in tax-related fields and want to help people like me (the non-Rubik, no-Friday-Sudoku, anti-Joyce crowd) with mine year in and year out.  


It just seems like they (the taxes) could be simpler, that’s all, and maybe things would be smoother and easier all the way around. Am I wrong?


To me, taxes are like dreams (the kind you have while you’re sleeping, not the ones you have when you’re a kid and seeing yourself as the next Evel Knievel or astronaut or, like me, a network game show host). Just like you, I have both dreams and taxes, and neither really make sense to me, though if you talk to people “in the know,” both have tremendous meaning and are perfectly logical.


And if I were to share my dreams (like I do my taxes) with someone who knows about them, those folks would probably be able to tell me a lot about not only what my dreams mean, but also some things about myself (which like with my taxes, I don’t always want to know).


You see, like my taxes, I just want to have my dreams and then let them go away, so I don’t have to think about them or deal with them again until “next time.”


Unlike taxes, however, my dreams do interest me, sometimes making me laugh and often making me wonder about myself.


And like taxes, dreams start out simple enough. Let’s compare.


Taxes: We make money, and in order to support the local, state and federal services we receive, we need to pay our fair share. Simple enough, right? But wait, there’s more because it’s not as simple (as you know) to simply turn over a pre-determined percentage of your income to the “gub’ment.” It’s a process, one that opens cans of worms, gets into the weeds, and makes us speak in all sorts of other cliches. It’s confusing, and to me it always reaches a point where I don’t understand what’s going on and how things got so convoluted.


It's the same with dreams.


Dream: I’m invited to a conference, a type of which the dream has not specified, but which I assume is career related (simple enough), and I am my current age. (So far, so good.) I fly to the conference, landing at the Alcatraz airport (no such thing exists, to my knowledge), and as I walk through the terminal, I meet my boss, who is also going to the conference. (No biggie, and we’re back on track after the little “Alcatraz airport” hiccup). Thing is, this is my boss from a job I had 30 years ago (can of worms), and he is the same age now as he was then, but because I am my current age (a fact we’ve already established), I’m older than he is when we meet for the conference. And yet, neither of us thinks that’s strange as we proceed through the airport to our rental vehicle, in which he drives because it’s snowing (at Alcatraz), and he says, “I love to drive in the snow.”


You may be asking why we need a rental vehicle in a place like Alcatraz. Answer: because it’s a dream, that’s why. (Not unlike some of the times I wonder why certain taxes have to be paid and the answer is, "Because the government says so, that's why.") We find the vehicle, an early vintage minivan (think 1990 Dodge Caravan or similar) and soon we’re driving through my hometown (on a beautiful summer say, no snow) toward the house in which I grew up because that’s where the conference is being held. (Hmmm.)


And that’s what taxes are to me: a bunch of things that really happened in my life, all smashed together in what seems like random order, and yet someone, somewhere (likely a person who can do a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded or complete the Friday Sudoku like it’s a routine grocery list), can make total sense of it all and come up with an amount that he/she completely understands and I don’t because I’m still wondering how we got from Alcatraz–where there is no airport or a bridge for our rented minivan for that matter–to my original family home where my mother is apparently hosting a major conference.


And just as there are people who can make heads and tails of that can of worms we call our taxes, there are folks that can tell me precisely what the dream I just presented to you means.


However, at the end of both the tax reality or the dream, it’s still up to me to determine if it’s accurate, and if they (the taxes and the dream) are correct (or at least within the laws of the land), leaving me to accept the consequences.


Again, let me state for the record that I appreciate and respect all the people that assume the mantle of working through our “stuff” so we can file our taxes with the IRS. I also (and you may think this is odd) respect the IRS for what it does. I mean, somebody has to figure this stuff out, right? I’m just glad it’s not me.


On the other side of this “tax/dream coin,” I appreciate the fact that people want to analyze our dreams, and I truly believe that for some folks it provides a great service. Me? I’m not sure I want to know what my dreams mean, and since unlike tax dodging, I don’t think I can be put in federal prison for dream dodging, I’ll probably just continue to let my dreams come and go (except the one about being a game show host; I'm still hoping).


To recap: 1) I don’t care for taxes, but I understand we need to pay them, and I’m glad there are people who are willing to help us with that. 2) Dreams are kind of interesting but can be just as confusing as taxes. That said, I really don’t want to understand them, but I like that there are experts who can help those who want to know why their “dream” trip to a 3-star Michelin restaurant resulted in being served a peanut butter and banana sandwich by an Elvis impersonator as Yoko Ono took their drink order while wearing a haz-mat suit ... in a nail salon.


Did any of this make sense? Given the spirit April 15, I’m not sure it was supposed to, but I hope you enjoy this day filled with taxes and dreams, and if you haven’t filed yet, I encourage you to do so, so you don’t end up in Alcatraz (where as far as I know, there is still no airport).


© 2024 David R. Haznaw

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