Of all the tasks I have dreaded doing the worst and most abominable task of all was doing the taxes. The more I postponed putting the numbers together, the more I hated the thought of doing it and the harder it was to actually sit down and face the music and fill in the forms. All of this torture reminded me why I became an economist and not an accountant. I was required to take a year of accounting for some arcane reason no longer applied in this modern era, but I scarcely learned the difference between a debit and a credit. I can't imagine a more deadly occupation that fitting numbers into little blank spaces and adding them all up. The only experience I can remember that remotely resembles doing the taxes was the initiation I was forced to go through in 1945 when I was 13 and a freshman in high school. I signed up for vocational agriculture but all freshman vo-ag students were required to go through an initiation which I am sure would never happen today. We were blindfolded, led from the classroom into the vo-ag shop, whereupon we experienced primitive forms of torture such as swallowing a piece of raw liver on a string and then have it jerked back up, sitting in an electric chair that gave you a good buzz, being forced to undergo other forms of terror, and then trying to avoid throwing up. I was a coward. I was only 13 as a high school freshman but I wanted to be a Green Hand, the first of four degrees of progression in the FFA. I didn't know that humiliating night that I would end up being Wyoming state president of the FFA during my senior year at age 16. But taxes were another form of my freshman initiation punctuated with the terror of penalties and fines and disgrace if I didn't fill out the forms.
Velna did the taxes for 62 years. She knew the forms backward and forward and every winter set up business at the kitchen table with all her collection of papers, receipts, and notes. My only responsibility was to sign the forms after the CPA finished the taxes for us. Now I am on my own. Sadly, she had worn out this year and progressively did less and less of everything and much to my dismay she had not filed the receipts and papers in orderly fashion as she had done for 62 years. After much consternation, pain, suffering, confusion, anxiety, depression, and even contemplating voting with the whackos to abolish the IRS, I finished the rough forms today. Now it is up to my wonderful CPA who has been calling me and sounding the alarm if I didn't get the miserable information to her.