I just got done dealing with tax stuff, and although taxes are a wonderful exercise in absurdism, they’re not really conducive to structured thinking. I suppose I could try to weave some coherent narrative through the foul ramblings I’m about to unleash on the rest of the world, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. So you get semi-digested bits of weirdness from my brain. Sorry. You want plot, go watch Law & Order or something.
When I lived in Tucson, I worked with someone who claimed that he didn’t have to pay any kind of taxes, and that he had, in fact, neglected to file a tax return for the last ten years. We then had this conversation:
Me: Dude, you gotta pay your taxes.
Carlos: No, you see, I’m a resident of a sovereign state called Arizona, and since I derive no benefit from the entity known as the United States of America…
Me: Ok, I’m going to stop you right there. Have you been invaded by Chinese hordes lately? Are Marxist Nicaraguan death squads putting a damper on your day on an all too frequent basis? No? Do you think that maybe the United States military might have something to do with that?
Carlos: But I…
Me: Or how about the roads? Do you drive on a smooth, well marked, and well maintained driving surface that was paid for in large part by the federal government? Or do you fly your magical gumdrop ship to the office every morning?
Carlos: You don’t understand…
Me: I understand. You gotta pay your taxes, dude.
Carlos: No, I don’t! I’ve got a foolproof argument, and I’m right!
Me: Let’s be extremely charitable here and say that you are right. How much consolation is that going to be while a trained IRS sodomist works out on your flaccid bunghole in a federal pound-you-in-the-ass penitentiary? Even if you are right, the IRS can make your life a living hell trying to prove it. They’ll take 90% of your paycheck! They’ll take your house! Fuck, they’ll probably come over and confiscate your fucking oxygen! Pay your fucking taxes, dude.
Carlos: I’m telling you, I’m right.
Me: Ok, if you’re so sure you’re right, why isn’t everyone doing what you’re doing?
Carlos: Because no one has had an idea this smart before.
Me: One of the words in that sentence needs to be replaced. Can you guess which one?
The last I heard from Carlos, he was having “tax problems”, which is what the IRS is calling thumbscrews these days. I understand getting into hot water with taxes. I’ve had some repaying to do over the years, and it turns out that claiming empty beer cans as dependents is a very bad idea. But I’ve never once doubted the power of the federal government to tax me.
I may hate paying taxes, and hate even more what the government does with my money once it has taken it out of my wallet. For instance, the US has spent, to date, over $1 trillion on the War on Drugs and it has gotten us absolutely nowhere. If we paid the Orkin guy $1 trillion to get rid of cockroaches, and 40-something years later cockroaches were still getting elected to Congress we’d tell the Orkin guy that he sucks, and maybe he should be doing something different.
But the federal government thinks increasing the budget on the War on Drugs will turn the trick, even though it has failed every time before. And I have to foot the bill for this, even if it’s only to pay the Drug Czar the portion of his salary that he allocates to hemorrhoid relief medication. That sucks. But I’m not going to deny that I have to do it. That’s asking for a figurative and (pending an easy conviction) literal ass-reaming of biblical proportions.
Fun IRS Fact: The IRS once killed seven million children. They did this by changing the tax code in 1987 to require that all dependents claimed on a tax return have a Social Security Number. That year, seven million less dependents just disappeared, never to be heard from again. Way to murder children, you sick, tax-collecting bastards!
One of the things that our tax money pays for is the fucking Post Office. I call it the “fucking Post Office”, because I hate it with the burning intensity of a million exploding suns. Now, I don’t hate it because they fuck up the mail. That’s bullshit. They actually do a pretty good fucking job. Think about what it is they need to do: 300 million plus people, and an uncountable number of businesses, government entities, and charities all send and receive mail. And people complain when they get their neighbor’s gas bill on accident once a year. Wahh-fucking-waaahhh.
You know how mail used to be delivered? Let’s say you lived in New York and needed to send a letter to San Francisco. You wrote the letter, then gave it to someone who proceeded to throw it down a fucking sewer because entire generations would have been born, then died before it ever got to fucking San Francisco. You had a better chance of pissing a Morse code message across the nation than delivering a letter. This was why the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes was unprofitable in the 1700’s.
No, I hate the Post Office because it is no longer necessary. If I want to send information that has been encoded by using the standard 26-character English alphabet, I can just use email. If I want to ship something, I’ll use Amazon. And if I do need to physically ship something that is in my possession, I’ll use FedEx or UPS, or any of the other for-profit entities that understand that they can make a profit by providing a service consistently and professionally.
Check this out: The Post Office lost $15.9 billion last year. That’s a lot of fucking money. That’s enough to keep the Olsen twins in condoms for almost a week. FedEx, by contrast, made $2 billion in 2012, and they didn’t have to steal money out of my fucking paycheck to do so. Also, when I need a FedEx package mailed, I don’t have to wade through a gaggle of seniors to do so.
Seriously, I live in Arizona where the state motto is “What’s that sonny?”, and old people flock to the post office like crabs flock to Lindsay Lohan. It’s not like you’re going to hear Tommy Dorsey playing over the intercom when you get there or anything. No, the average age of a post office patron here makes it much more likely that you’ll run across Tommy Dorsey himself, and he’ll be at the front of the fucking line asking if they have any stamps that feature the Charleston, flagpole sitting, or some other such fucking thing. I’m not shitting you, it’s like a goddamn Metamucil convention in there.
So of course I avoid the post office like the plague because I have important shit that needs to get done like writing a post about a French class I took a quarter of a century ago, and I do not have time to be standing in line being unproductive, goddamit! But today I needed to step in to buy a single stamp, which I hoped to accomplish via a modernized machine that accepts common forms of payment. This, of course, was wild, pie-in-the-sky optimism, but to be fair the stamp machine had been updated recently as it appeared to accept doubloons.
While I stood there trying to figure out where the nearest grocery store was so that I could buy a stamp without having to wait in line for four hours, an elderly gentlemen decided that he had had enough of the goddamn post office.
Old Guy: I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THE GODDAMN POST OFFICE, YOU SON OF A BITCH!
He screamed this right in the face of some poor schlub as his elderly wife, all of 4′ 6″, frantically tugged at his arm. “Come on, Bill. Let’s leave. Please.”
I felt bad for the old woman because she was obviously very embarrassed, but still felt the need to protect her husband, even if it was from himself. And I felt like asking her to make me some cookies, for some reason.
The poor schlub, meanwhile, maintained his calm and kept repeating, “Ok, sir. Thank you. Have a nice day.”
Finally, the old guy demanded to speak to the manager, who promptly came out and told him, “I’m the manager, and I don’t want to talk to you. Get out of here right now, and you won’t have to go to jail.”
By now, the old guy was getting really testy, and I started to edge a little closer to him because I’ve had a hankering to punch an old person for quite some time now. Hahaha, I’m just joking. He was one of those tough-looking, wiry old guys, and I thought he was going to start throwing punches. I don’t know if he was a rancher his whole life, or maybe he was just one of those last-generation racists and spent all his time pummeling wetbacks, but he looked like he might be able to do some damage and if the punches were going to start flying, I wanted to be sure that I was there to swipe the guy’s wallet.
Hahaha, I’m kidding again. I don’t know what the fuck I thought I was going to do, but it felt like shit was going to get real, and I had to do my part, whatever the fuck that was. But then the manager defused the whole situation, brilliantly. “Sir, if the police get here and you are still on the premises, I will have them give me your name and you will not be allowed to go to any post office, anywhere in the United States.”
Now, this elderly gentleman may have have enough of the goddamn post office, but the thought of not being able to go there on a weekly basis to mail fudge or get his dander up or whatever was a fate worse than prison. “Come on, Bill. Please,” said his diminutive wife, and finally Bill listened. Screaming insults over his shoulder, Bill allowed himself to be led outside where he got into a car the size of Rhode Island and drove away at 3 miles per hour, with his left turn signal on the whole time.
And it just dawned on me that I never did get that stamp. Fuck.
Switching gears now, you know how there are words or phrases that tick you off? I knew a guy once who flew into a fucking rage whenever someone was foolish enough to say the words, “ATM machine” in front of him.
“ATM machine?” he’d fairly scream. “The ‘M’ stands for machine, so you’re saying the Automatic Teller Machine Machine.” And of course I would laugh at how butthurt he’d get over something so trivial until someone ordered a Roast Beef au Jus in my hearing.
Random Person: Yes, I’ll have the roast beef sandwich with au jus.
Me: You know, “au jus” is French for “with juice”. So you just ordered a roast beef sandwich with with juice.
Random Person: Do I know you?
Me: DIE, MOTHERFUCKER!
This, of course, was before I became the well-adjusted pillar of the community that I am today, at least when I’m not sucker punching the elderly. So now when someone orders a roast beef sandwich with with juice, I just make lip fart noises at the person, who is now, in my estimation, on par with serial arsonists and the recently lobotomized. Seriously, I think less of that person, which is totally stupid because the extremely minor linguistic fuckup they just made involves a language they don’t even know, so how the fuck are the supposed to know to say it any differently?
Arby’s Employee: Hello, welcome to Arby’s. Can I take your order?
Stephen Hawking’s Robotic Wheelchair: Yes, I’ll have a roast beef with au jus.
Me: Pfffft. Moron.
But the word that really, really gets under my skin is wash, but only when it’s pronounced ultra-hillbilly style as in, “Pa sent me to fetch ya’ round the barn ’cause we’re fixin’ to warsh the cow again.” WARSH. Holy shit, if you use the word “warsh” in front of me, your imagined IQ has just dropped 75 points in my mind. That’s the difference between an honors student and a fucking doorstop, and I still think that a 75 point drop may not be enough to convey how stupid I now think you are.
Ok, there’s some backstory to this that you should probably have. First of all, if you, dear reader, are thinking to yourself in a wounded tone, “Hey! I use the word ‘warsh’! That’s hurtful and unfair!” I agree with you. The rational part of my brain understands that whether or not you use the word “warsh” probably has more to do with how that word was pronounced in the home you were raised in. I understand that.
But another rational(ish), but more spiteful part of my brain chimes in, “But you’ve got to be fucking illiterate to keep saying it that way, because seriously: W-A-S-H. Right?” This part of my brain imagines myself attending grade school in Arkansas:
Teacher: Ok, Greg. Can you spell the word warsh?
Teacher: I’m sorry, that’s wrong. It’s spelled W-A-S-H.
Me: What? Where’s the “R”?
Teacher: There is no “R” in warsh.
Me: Then why do we fucking say it that way?
Teacher: Greg! If you don’t watch your language, I will warsh your mouth out with soap!
Me: You just did it again! You taught us about silent letters. Was I sick the day you taught us about invisible R’s? What the fuck?
So, sorry if I’ve offended those of my readers who like to drop some extra letters in their wash, just for kicks. Trust me, I know what it’s like being brought up to mispronounce things. As I mentioned in my last post, my mother spoke French and English was, in fact, her second language, and one she only began to learn a few short years prior to my arrival. (Somehow she gleaned English from reading Nero Wolfe murder mysteries. Really. This, I suppose, explains why we started off every dinner with the phrase, “I suppose you’re all wondering why I brought you here this evening…”)
Anyway, I would go to school and enter into a conversation with classmates that would invariably uncover some horribly fractured phrase or mispronounced word that I’d always assumed I was saying correctly.
Me: We went to the thee-AY-ter this weekend…
Friend: The where?
Me: (oh, fuck) Thee-AY-ter. You know, where you watch movies?
Friend: Oh, the THEE-uh-ter.
Now, that example may not sound like a big deal to you, and it isn’t, but bear in mind that my mother did not know that there were a couple of gender-based words for a child’s undergarments and hence called them all “panties”. This led to some traumatic events that are only funny in retrospect and with the help of powerful yak sedatives.
Mom: Hi Greg, how was school today?
Greg: School? Oh, is that how it’s pronounced? BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ANY MORE!
Mom: Ok. Just be sure to closer the door and shutter off the lights in the mudroom!
So I get it. People who say “warsh” say it because they were taught to say it that way by loved ones. There’s another reason I fucking can’t stand that word: It is said by my least favorite person in the entire universe. Seriously, if this person was standing on their tiptoes in a lake of liquified shit, with the shit coming up to their bottom lip, I would be on the shore renting fucking waterski equipment.
So, yeah, not a big fan of the word “warsh”.
Finally, I want to take a moment to apologize to those of you with blogs that I normally comment on, but have been absent from doing so lately. As part of my self-imposed break (which is now over if the length of this particular piece of keyboard-diarrhea is any indication), I’ve also found myself slacking off on my blog reading. So if you’ve wondered where I have been, that’s part of the answer.
The other part is due to the fact that my RSS ticker is written in Adobe AIR, and everyone at Adobe can go eat a bucket of moldy dicks because none of their shit is any fucking good. Fuck Flash, fuck AIR, and fuck Adobe. Steve Jobs was right: You guys are a bunch of fuckwits who probably use the word “warsh”.
So, anyway, I finally got tired of my ticker crashing, and have been looking for a similar alternative. And because of this, I don’t have the visual cues handy that someone has written a wonderfully thought out post that I’d like to read that isn’t filled with ridiculous horseshit (like the previous 2,800 words). But I think I’ve settled on something, and so if you missed me loonying up your blog’s comment section, I should be back soon.
That’s it! Good to be back, and I look forward to reading your least favorite words/sayings below.