My tax guy is a man I've known since 1983, Chris Wilson. He is originally from Etowah, Tennessee, but now lives in Alcoa with his hot young bride, Blanche. They have two adult children who have moved on to live their own lives, successfully, it seems. Chris and I met at a workout facility in Athens, Tennessee when we were both much younger. We were good weight-training partners, because he was stronger in chest, arm and shoulder exercises, while I did better in the leg and back department. This gave us both motivation to advance, as well as an opportunity to belittle one another at every machine, loudly. Ugly words and phrases were exchanged, all in good guy-fun.
Chris's favorite story about me has to do with the time he made an attempt to teach me to water-ski. I would relate the story, but it simply loses something without his voice going higher and higher -- to the point of dogs howling at him -- right before he collapses and passes out from lack of oxygen due to laughing so hard. I like for him to tell the story to people, simply for the opportunity to cover his face with whipped cream while he's unconscious.
Chris has a mechanical mind, and had been in the engineering department of a manufacturing company for a number of years, before he moved into marketing, which is Satan's work. We both wound up being bitten by the economic downturn bug. But Chris, the workaholic, also has a small business out of his home wherein he provides income tax services, as well as mutual fund and insurance sales. They're surviving. If you need help, C. L. Wilson Income Tax Service will bail you out.
So, in early March, I went to Chris with all of my tax information, meager as it was. In 2010, I made less money than in any year since 1982, what with my on/off employment situation. I was actually employed full-time for about the last forty days of the year, thank goodness. But, I don't make the money per hour to which I am accustomed, so we've made cuts, and done without things like trips to the nicer places for dinner. We're surviving, also.
Chris and I chatted about life, liberty, and the pursuit of wealth while he worked his incomprehensible voodoo magic over my pitiful W-2 forms. It's very similar to the Sorcerer Mickey scene from "Fantasia." Every now and again he would ask a pertinent question, which I would answer, then he would type into Merlin's computer and glitter-dust would shoot out the top of the monitor. At the end of the session, Chris announced the amount of my income tax return.
I heard the figure, and it was significantly more than in the last dozen years, or so. I informed Chris that he had -- clearly -- uttered some incorrect incantation. He then turned the voodoo-infused monitor toward me, and began to explain that, it wasn't he who had created the strange figure, but our most recent elected president and his odd policies, wherein, the less one earns, the more income tax return one receives.
Now, as a good Libertarian, I am --philosophically speaking -- against this sort of policy. It goes against common sense. However, as a person who has been income-challenged the last couple of years, I thanked Chris for his time, shook his hand, and floated back to Philadelphia, knowing that I would soon be nearly out of debt, other than my mortgage. This was a happy event that went directly against my core belief system.
It has been four months, and I am still confused, but more solvent than I was, which has more to do with my next post than this one, but that's for later.