Category Archives: Life

Don’t Panic. We’re From The IRS.

Today is National Income Tax Filing Day, a day of community, where people from every walk of life can come together and share the common bond of standing shoulder to shoulder in the post office lobby. I don’t know much about income taxes, other than no one understands them and they freak me out. Seriously. Every time I start a new job, they give me a W-4, or a W-2, or a WD-40 form to fill out, and it makes me want to curl up into the fetal position on the floor and sob, and the only thing I have to do is mark a “1” in certain spots.

Like any red-blooded American, I want to do my civic duty to properly report my filing status as accurately as possible to withhold the maximum amount of money from the government without being accused of perjury. Unfortunately, there are two factors working against me when it comes to income taxes. One is specifically designed to work against me, as it’s specifically designed to work against most people who are not criminally insane, (by which I mean “lawyers and politicians”). The other, I’ll admit, is that I am easily confused by anything combining numbers with completely abstract concepts.

The IRS combines both of these factors into one big, scary process specifically designed to make me panic and give them a lot of money, then worry that they’re going to throw me in jail anyway. This is the same thing that makes it impossible for me to perform any sort of financial transaction more substantial than buying gum without direct supervision.

Like, I’ll decide I want to go buy a car. To me, buying a car should be pretty self-explanatory. You go to a store, and you buy a car. Only in this case the “store” is called a “dealership,” and it’s loaded with “salesmen” who are trying to “take advantage of you.” You find a car that fits your price range and your needs, and you tell the salesman that you want the car. The problem comes in when the salesman sits you down in his office for several presidential administrations and starts talking about scary car things like features and options and dealer incentives. Then I get all confused. Then he’ll start throwing numbers out at random, and if he starts comparing it with another car, my brain shuts down. By the time I’m done, I might walk away with three cars. I might walk away with no cars and a 237% interest rate. I might walk away paying for someone else’s car. I have no idea!

I’m also really gullible. If the salesman tells me I need to have something on my car, oftentimes I’ll agree to it just to make him stop throwing numbers at me. That is why I always need to have someone with me who knows what they’re doing when I’m buying any expensive items like a car or a house or furniture or pretty much anything involving a contract.

Contracts are the worst. Insurance companies will list a bunch of policies, and I have no idea what any of them are really for because they all have names like “Balanced Assured Compensation Liability Mutual Licensee Aforementioned Deduction Allowance,” and of course I need every single one. I end up with an entire contract, and I don’t even know what it even covers, but I can rest assured knowing that whatever problem I have, it isn’t included in the contract.

This brings me back to today’s topic, which is income tax filing, a topic that makes me a total neurotic mess who seeks the advice of people who may or may not know what they’re doing. I don’t really know anything or care about income taxes, and therefore I had to fill the bulk of this article with completely unrelated filler. This is a time-honored technique that most professional writers perfect in college, where they are assigned essays on topics they care nothing about, such as the United States Tax Code. They have to answer such important questions as “Is the President of the United States exempt from paying income taxes?” and “Or what?” Both of these can be answered by copying and pasting any relevant section of the tax code, such as:

If an eligible person sells any property pursuant to a certificate of divestiture, at the election of the taxpayer, gain from such sale shall be recognized only to the extent that the amount realized on such sale exceeds the cost (to the extent not previously taken into account under this subsection) of any permitted property purchased by the taxpayer during the 60-day period beginning on the date of such sale.

TAX TIP: If you don’t owe the government any money, you can file up to three years past the deadline, but if you do owe the government money, trained IRS agents will kick down your door and take it from you.

The Rocket Bike Of Manliness

The other day, I spoke with a woman who was very upset with one of her male friends. Apparently, her friend picked a fight with another guy in a bar by punching him straight in the face. Someone else illustrated the point that her friend needed to calm down by breaking a pool cue over his head. This left a deep gash in her friend’s skull, and this was, naturally, the main thing concerning her.

This was not, however, the main thing concerning her male friend. He was more concerned with finding the guy who bashed his head in so he could beat up that guy. If at this point you’re wondering why her male friend was not at the hospital getting his head stitched up, then you are obviously a woman. If you were a man, you’d be wondering if anyone has uploaded the video footage of this to YouTube yet, and if not, then what’s taking them?

The woman I spoke with was upset with her male friend because she, being a woman, felt that the most important thing for him to do was get his head stitched up before his brain fell completely out. She couldn’t understand why beating up the guys who attacked him was more important than seeking immediate medical attention. This is because she is a woman. Women are rational creatures, which is a good thing because men are basically ten-year-olds in giant, hairy bodies.

A woman wouldn’t be more worried about finding the people who caved her skull in with a pool cue than getting her head stitched up. Chances are slim that most women would ever find themselves in a position to get their skull caved in with a pool cue unless Jason Voorhes runs out of machetes and has to make do. Women don’t fight for the same reasons as men. If a woman’s going to resort to violence, it’s going to be over something fundamentally important, such as drama. The primary reason men resort to violence, on the other hand, is alcohol.

Men are full of a chemical called “testosterone.” This is a hormone responsible all sorts of immature behavior in men, but leads to particularly extreme examples of stupidity when combined with beer. For instance, testosterone might make a man decide to strap a small rocket to his bicycle, but only testosterone combined with alcohol would make him stupid enough to ride that rocket bike off the roof of his garage. Women have a similar chemical called “estrogen,” only it just makes them roll their eyes in resignation and call the ambulance.

When a man sees an attractive woman sitting at a bar, his testosterone will assure him that she is probably too drunk to realize she’s far too attractive for him. He will then initiate his instinctive mating call, (“Heeeeey, baby, hey! Hey, baby, baby, baby, hey! Hey, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby. . .”), until she throws her exotic drink in his face. This means she accepts his offer of “Hey, baby, hey.” However, when the man’s testosterone is combined with alcohol, it will make him try to get the attention of the attractive woman sitting at the bar by starting a fight with another drunk guy, and the attractive woman will roll her eyes in resignation and call the ambulance.

The guy who bashed her friend’s skull in gave him a clear message: “My testosterone is bigger than yours.” According to the male code of ethics, the most important thing for her friend to do is reassert his dominance, lest he be reduced to the pecking order position of “Wussy Boy.” You’re probably wondering how effectively a guy with a head injury could possibly fight the same people who gave him the head injury, but such concerns are unimportant to guys. The only thing the guy is concerned with is getting his masculinity back, and since he lost his rocket bike after flying it into a lake, beating up the guys who attacked him is the only sensible alternative.

I never did find out how the rematch went. I’m sure nothing is more intimidating to a group of drunken guys radiating testosterone levels strong enough to grow chest hair on women from across the room than a woozy guy stumbling around with blood running down his face from the very head injury they gave him earlier, but in reality, this is an incredibly long sentence. I also never found out if he ever did end up getting his head stitched up, but it’s a safe assumption. After all, he does have a woman looking after him.

All The Practical Dating Advice You Need

Most people who know me will tell you that I am not the 96% Lean Ground Beef of the Dating World. I’m not the most physically fit or attractive guy out there, I’m old enough to remember when Dinobots first roamed the Earth, and most forms of social interaction frighten me. To that end, I’m glad I have a girlfriend now; someone who loves me for who I am, even though I cannot remotely fathom why. To answer the two most obvious questions: No, I am not just making this person up, and No, it’s not Laura Fraser. Although, if Laura Fraser is reading this right now, I would just like to say that I’m available.

I re-entered the dating world several years ago full of optimistic enthusiasm. I figured that, if nothing else, my various exploits would make excellent fodder for humorous anecdotes. This was before I discovered that dating is stupid and I suck at it.

For instance, I am immune to “signals.” “Signals” are those little subtle hints that people give off to show that they are attracted to one another, such as smiling, winking, flirting, or if the they are particularly intoxicated, heavy petting. I have no idea how to interpret these signals. If a girl is flirting with me, I have no idea if she is flirting with me because she likes me unless she comes out and tells me that she likes me. I could always just ask if she likes me, but I find it’s far safer to assume that if I like a girl, there will probably be some reason why it would never work out between us, such as she’s already married.

Many magazines promise to deliver practical dating advice. These are all women’s magazines. You don’t find much in the way of dating advice in men’s magazines because men are more concerned with automotive repair and fishing tips than understanding their relationships, which is exactly the reason women feel they need to turn to magazines for dating advice.

These magazines are always full of such helpful articles as: “Top 10 Ways to Impress Your Lover in Bed,” “What He Says and What He Really Means,” “Take Our Completely Random Compatibility Quiz,” “Dr. Phil Thinks You’re an Idiot,” “How Many Days Should You Wait for Him to Call?” “How Many Dates Should You Go On Before Expecting a Proposal?” “Is Two Years too Long to Wait? You’re Not Getting Any Younger You Know,” “What Is This Guy’s Problem Anyway?” and “Bat Boy Saves Pope from Bigfoot Rampage.” The truth is, ladies, that if you want to get closer to your man, it would be far more effective to just develop an interest in fishing.

Men and women are not really that different when it comes to relationships. We both want what everybody wants: comfort, safety, appreciation, and affection. Yet these magazines assume men and women are only capable of relating to each other in the same sense that a sea slug is capable of relating to a banjo. After reading all this practical dating advice, women modify their behavior to fit what they’re told men want, and the men are more confused than ever because none of it has any basis in automotive repair or fishing.

I do have some ideas that could make dating far less stupid. For example, I think single people could find each other much easier if they wore buttons to signify that they are single and ready to date, sort of like how married people wear rings to signify that they are not single and ready to date. It would save everyone a lot of hassle, except women, who would feel the need to coordinate their outfits to include the button.

The less time you spend with your partner, the more successful your relationship will be. I realized this by watching people who have been married for at least ten years. Between work and sleep, taking care of the kids, and enjoying their various hobbies, happily married people only get to spend about an hour of quality time together per day, and it’s usually at the end of the day when they’re both tired. Since nothing really exciting happens to most people during the average day, this actually saves both partners from having to hear about, in explicit detail, stuff they care nothing about, such as a synopsis of the entire Beast Wars Transformers series.

Finally, I think all relationships should begin with sex. Even business relationships, as long as both partners are willing, or as it’s known in the business world, “mutual.” Too many power plays and mind games and roadblocks are tied up with this, and it would be much easier to focus on actually building a relationship once it’s out of the way.

Whoever Dreamed Of A White Christmas Should Be Shot

Yesterday morning I caught myself muttering, “I can’t wait for winter to be over.” This statement took me by surprise. Winter used to be one of my favorite months. Oh wait, that doesn’t look right. Wintember used to be one of my favorite months. That’s better.

I must be growing up. One more tiny piece of my childhood died as I turned my back on winter. My inner child would have wept over this, but its tear ducts had frozen shut. Winter was far more exciting to us when we were children. We would peer through the windows late at night, watching the snow come down with wide-eyed wonder at the awesome power of nature to cancel school. Of course, they always reminded us we’d have to make up any snow days at the end of the year, but no one ever cared because the entire last week of school was a blow-off anyway.

As an adult, winter weather becomes less of a useful diversion and more of an irritating inconvenience. They don’t close down most businesses just because it would be unreasonably unsafe to expect their employees to drive to work. This means that adults still need to brave the elements to drive to work while their children get to stay home and entertain themselves with such fun games as “set G.I. Joe on fire.” (Of course, I’m only kidding. These days, kids just download grotesque porn from the Internet instead of actually doing anything constructive with their free time.)

Every morning during the winter, I have to wake up earlier than normal so I can warm up my car. Apparently automobile engineers are more interested in making cars that can be voice activated to play Barenaked Ladies while calling our lawyers than making cars that can function reasonably well in temperature ranges that commonly exist on planet Earth. This is the main reason I can’t wait for winter to be over. I have a great deal of trouble waking up at all, let alone early, because I find sleep to be a very enjoyable alternative to being awake. When you’re asleep, no one is around to pressure you into doing things you don’t want to do, like contribute to society in any meaningful way.

I also have to adjust my travel time to account for “safe winter driving.” Cold winter air creates ice, a vicious substance determined to destroy humanity by transforming our roads into violent, careening deathtraps. “Safe winter driving” is a critical process combining two major elements: 1) driving as slowly as possible, and 2) being perpetually terrified while you do so. Everybody practices “safe winter driving” from approximately October 1st through May 31st, regardless of whether or not there is actually any ice on the road. Regardless of whether or not conditions even exist for there to be any ice on the road. Unless they’re idiots. The idiots are the ones who believe that owning a four-wheel drive vehicle makes it perfectly safe to drive 50 MPH on a sheet of pure ice.

In addition to the ice, we sometimes also have to deal with the nuisance of snow. Nature never dumps snow any place that might be convenient for people, such as in scenic landscape photographs. It’s always on sidewalks and busy streets where it can cause accidents, and we’re constantly having to move it someplace else. Of course, this is nature’s signal that we are ready for even more snow, which clearly, by definition, belongs on the sidewalks and streets. When we were children, we would delight in building snowmen, creating snow angels, and sliding uncontrollably down snow-crested hills atop flimsy sheets of plastic. That was before we grew up and realized that whoever dreamed of a white Christmas should be drug out and shot.

If I remember my high school science classes correctly, we learned that it gets extremely cold in winter because the sun hates us. This causes car windshields to develop frost that is impossible to remove because windshield scrapers were designed by cackling sadists. The temperature is always a stimulating topic of conversation during the winter. People never get tired of asking if it’s “still cold out there,” as if it’s suddenly going to turn June. Sometimes, someone might ask you if you’re responsible for “all this bad weather,” which is a stupid question because everyone knows that, as with anything else that nobody likes, it’s all George W. Bush’s fault.