Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Birthday Checklist

Today is my birthday. As has been my custom since turning 50 I try to perform some feat involving physicality, not to prove my relative fitness, but more to document the progress of my inexorable decline. Today it was a 5K run, a distance of 3.1 miles. I ran it outside on a rather hilly tract I have measured out in my neighborhood. My time was 27:50.7. Two years ago my records indicate that I ran 4 miles on a treadmill in a time of 31:48. Three years ago I ran 3 miles on a treadmill in 23:39. At this pace I will soon manage to break the 30 minute barrier for one mile!

Since it's my birthday, there's a paragraph that I need to get out of my system...

Yesterday I tried to help my daughter fill out her first 1040 form. I haven't done my own taxes in over 20 years since my return is practically an inch thick, costs me $500, and I don't understand a word of it. So, I probably am not the best person to ask for help filling out even the most benign IRS form which I assumed something called the "EZ" 1040 form would be. Nope. Even at this entry level introduction to the labyrinth that is the IRS, I was hopelessly over matched. "If line 24d is greater but not equal to the total on line 17, proceed to tax table on schedule ADJ" was one of the more straightforward instructions found on this two page EZ1040 form for tax-paying beginners. After 10 minutes of this I was muttering under my breath about the "pencil-necked, soul-crushing, blood-sucking, parasitic bureaucrats who work at the most evil construct ever spawned by the United States government."

There. I feel better already. However, having just read the part about blood-sucking parasites it occurs to me that there is an agency of our government that was the ACTUAL spawn of the IRS and the CIA. That would be the department of Homeland Security, and it wouldn't surprise me if there isn't some pencil-necked employee sitting in a cubical doing nothing else but monitoring blogs for combinations of words that might be deemed "dangerous". Perhaps they use some sort of algorithm that screams  an alarm whenever the words "blood-sucking" and "bureaucrats" appear in the same sentence. On the off chance that this is the case, let me just say that I was not referring to any specific actual employees of either the IRS,CIA or Homeland Security, all of which are part of the grand mosaic that make up the engine of our self-government. I was merely voicing the minor frustration that many of us feel when trying to comply with the law of the land. So, no need to push the "audit this guy" button. haha...

Birthday checklist:

1. Take freshly baked molasses cookies made by Pam to the office.  CHECK.

2. Get taken to lunch by my office mates. Take full advantage of their rare display of generosity. CHECK.

3. Read scores of birthday wishes posted on my facebook page and say a prayer of thanks for each one. CHECK.

4. Enjoy steak dinner at Firebirds with great friends. CHECK.

5. Ponder the inevitable and relentless physical and mental decline that awaits you in the years to come. CHECK.