Like the finale of Le sacre du printemps where the dancer dances herself to death--that's life.
A woman friend of mine just left my apartment. She comes over whenever she's in my neighborhood, drops in, and she always brings me these chocolate chip cookies they make in the company she works for's cafeteria.
She wants to talk; I'm an ex-social worker so I know how to listen--plus I'm a good situational evaluator and good at giving advice, calming advice, advice based on fiction and fact, from the deepest knowledges formulated while my butt is stuffed deep in an armchair as I hedonistically contemplate other people's lives and dreams while charmed by the glowing white ash of my handrolled Havana-seed Rothchild-style stogie.
The cookie woman has a problem. The IRS has called her in. She's a senior vice president of the big giant conglom for which she works, a lot of different money-saving schemes and pension planning and 401K-ing going on--and she's a big property owner back in her hometown, a beautiful little Midwest city that sits on a bluff up over the old Mississippi River--"Mississippi River so brown, deep, and wide...Lookin' for my good gal on the other side...." So her taxes ain't simple; in fact, her taxes are so complicated she has them done by professionals. And there's the drag.
See I used to work in the "accounting" industry, a Big Eight firm--Big Eight before they all merged and combined and went global and now there are Big Ones all over the world...and these big boys do not like to be called "accountants," though that's what they are no matter if they do call themselves "consultants," "planners," "finance managers," or "executive management experts"--all they are are CPAs trying to get out of that second-story office and move on up to one of those penthouse board rooms where the lowest slob in the room is just barely a millionaire--just today I read where executive salaries are now running about 450 to 1 to the salaries of the people who produce the goods or the paperwork that makes these companies rich.
Accountants are devious--that's the main part of their job, especially when it comes to doing taxes--tax consulting, they call it. Most tax accountants these days leave peone accounting to plebes like H&R Block (the very crooked Block boys--check out their criminal indictments over the years) or Sears-Roebuck; most CPAs who deal with taxes aspire to becoming executive management consultants and become so good at it they may have a chance of one day getting appointed head of the IRS, about as high as these bookkeepers can go. That means they get into doing executive taxes, corporate books, etc. The "cooking" these birds do they now call "creative accounting," done to avoid paying taxes, penalites, fines, filing papers, etc, for big shots and big corrupt corporations (all of them really).
So this really swell young woman who brings me these wonderfully rich and vulgarly fattening cookies at least once a week has such complicated taxes that a few years back she turned them over to a nice Jewish boy tax consultant from Queens, New York--everybody in NYC knows you go to nice-Jewish-boy accountants when you want those big juicy "legal" refunds--a no worry, done-in-a-flash type Jewish accountant--"Not to worry, no problem, give me your papers, I'll send you my bill...no problem...move on, please, I'm velly bizzy tonight, darlink." Everything was hunky dory--3 years now and the dude's done wonders for her--the refunds get bigger and juicier every year, this year especially. She went off to the Caribbean somewhere for a month with this year's refund check.
She was reading the paper one day a couple of weeks ago--and an article in the business section of the New York Times caught her eye--and she saw a headline, "Queens Accountants Sought by IRS Agents for Fraudulent Filing Practices; One Suspect Has Already Turned Up in Israel, the Other Is Still Being Sought." The story went on to say the IRS was claiming these nice Jewish boys had bilked the IRS through their clients of 40 million bucks. The cookie woman saw one of the nice Jewish boys's name--recognized it immediately. Holy crap. It was her nice Jewish boy. Further into the article it said that the clients of these accountants were being sent letters by the IRS asking them to report to an IRS office with the proper receipts, etc., to prove all the deductions on their returns these guys did over the past 5 years were legit. The cookie woman is scared; she said the deductions they are wanting to know about she has no idea what the hell they're talking about--an $11,000 charitable deduction--she says she never made such a contribution. I tried to calm her down. She's not worried about being hauled off to the IRS hoosegow but she is worried about how much moulah this government collection agency is gonna say she owes, back, three years. That's what's scaring her; hell, the IRS can take all your properties, they can garnish your pension monies, your 401K account, your savings account...it ain't somethin' to joke off on, though that's what I did--made it humorous. It seemed to work. She calmed down and actually started smiling, then laughing.
So she was depressed because of that. She got the letter from the IRS and she called and made an appointment but most of us are scared to death of the IRS and yes the IRS is a terribly mean corporation (chartered in Puerto Rico) that is only interested in taking as much of our earnings as they can devour--all of our earnings if they could. Facing the IRS and facing whatever decision they come to as to what you owe them or don't owe them is hairraising. Yes, they can ruin your life. Yes, they can throw you in a Gitmo-like place for the rest of your life if they think you're holding out on them.
It's funny isn't it how we have to account for every damn penny we earn and yet the IRS doesn't have to account for any of their spending, wastes, mistakes, out-of-date computer systems--funny, isn't it?
So I consoled her and she just left here laughing, feeling really lighthearted, smiling, pretty as a picture, and I got a nice long sweet-hot kiss on the elevator in appreciation for my social work. Plus the cookies. I am good at assuaging things; that I admit.
As I was talking out her problem with her, I got to thinking, this charming, beautiful, successful businesswoman could give a shit about what's going on in Iraq today. Iraq is as far from her mind as it is from her apartment. When she's not working, she's dealing with her new apartment, staying on her diet, dealing with her boyfriend, shopping, etc. She has no idea what is going on in Washington, District of Corruption. She knows nothing about any of the politicians running for office next month...I mean, she votes, but she votes straight whatever she voted for the last time she voted--and if you ask her how she voted, she might shrug and say, "Oh, I voted straight Dumbocrat, whoever they are"...I think she's a Dumbocrat, but I don't know; she just never talks politically--always romantically--and believe me, there is nothing romantic about politics, not to me there isn't--unless it's flirting with the page boys a la Mark Foley. Foley's Folly: young boys. Hey, giraffes are naturally bisexual.
I think the cookie woman is like most Amuricans. They are working hard; they are working hard for nest eggs for that day when they can retire and live that good life they've been told is due them, if they're still in good health when that day comes or if they don't get fired suddenly or downsized or outplaced or forced to take an early retirement unexpectedly. This never knowing from day-to-day anything outside your own realm of problems is the reason an incompetent idiot like Georgie Porgie can steal his way into the White House and get away with all this ruthless inhumane skullduggery and lying and turning Plutocrat on our asses. Screw the little buggers; education is natural to them, but adults--after they get out of college or high school or grade school, that's it--their education ceases and they go into work modes--all they do is work, and all their social whirl is based around work, their schedules, their free time, all based on WORK. They quite educating themselves to the true reality. They stay dumb to the great fraud being perpetrated on all of us by these Neo-Con felons and if we sent these birds a letter and said we wanted them to bring all their papers and receipts and stuff down to We the People's office for an audit--they'd send the FBI goons out to get our asses prepared for a trip to the beautiful coastline of Cuba. [I've always thought it funny that Guantanamo is owned by Communist Cuba--the US pays rent on the place--and most of the staff there are Cuban citizens. Ironies make life interesting. How many times have I said that?]
One guy who seems pretty hip to the bullshit going on around us these is this Scott Ritter, a strange man of all seasons who is currently peddling a book in which he says we are doing the bidding of Israel in eventually going to war with Iran. Israel is the one spreading the false facts that Iran has the ability to make nuclear weapons. Israel has already said that they will not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons--or any Middle Eastern neighbor of theirs. Ritter was one of the inspectors in Iraq looking for Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction back before Georgie Porgie took "freedom on the march" in revenge for Saddam trying to "kill my pappy"--CIA report: "Oh, there go Sad-dham's WMDs-- in those specially built buses--or no, those are Brit weather-station trucks, damn, but, wait, hold on, we now have infrared proof Saddam has a massive system of tunnels under the desert where he's hiding his WMDs--yahoo, that's it."--Ritter says Saddam had no WMDs, and that we knew that, Georgie Porgie knew that, old Unka Dick knew that, and Rummy Rumhead knew that, and old Your Colon's Pal knew that, and Condo-Leasing Rice knew that, but Ritter says the agenda was already set by Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby, remember him?, and the agenda was to do Israel's bidding in terms of Middle East policy. If you don't know where Scooter is now, by the bye, he's servin' a little time after taking the rap for Unka Dick's sins and Cousin Karl Siegheil Rove's outright treason for outing a CIA agent.
Ritter is a brilliant dude; very wise. Along the line of some CIA dudes being very well up on intellectual matters, I saw a dude the other night on teevee talking about he was recruited by the CIA when he was a young college history teacher--they recruit college smartasses who've been in the military and piled up a good record there--the CIA starts tracing you when you join one of the armed services, in my case the U.S. Army, and I got a letter one day from Kansas City, Missouri, saying because they noticed I had a degree in Sociology-Economics, they had a job for me--the letterhead read "Central Intelligence Agency" with this Kansas City address. As a be-bop dude just getting out of the Army, I had no idea what the Central Intelligence Agency was. I was so young and dumb I didn't even make the anacronym out of it--CIA--because I certainly knew about the CIA and Allen Dulles and John Foster Duller, his brother, the Sec'y of State under good ole golf-playing goofy Dwight David Eisenhower (he had a brother, Milton, who was also a president, a college president, University of Pennsylvania, I think--an old Ike story goes that Columbia University wanted Milton for their president but Ike got the letter by mistake, thought they meant him, and became president of Columbia--though they really wanted Milton. In the meantime, Mamie Eisenhower was drunk as a lord and lady back on the isolated Eisenhower farm just off the Gettysburg Battlefield. [Presidents's alcoholic wives: Mamie Eisenhower; Pat Nixon; Betty Ford...in recent history. They say Pickles favors pot over alcohol, though I'm sure she's downed a few slugs of Jim Beam with Georgie Porgie back in the good ole days when he was a coke-snortin', heavy drinkin' drugstore cowboy, just after he took advantage of being the son of a privileged rich man and went, what's that called when you don't report to a military base for a tour of duty? Absent Without Leave?; isn't that what it's called? Anacronym: AWOL. A court-martial offense.
Speaking of anacronyms, here's a fun little site I found tooling around the Internet today:
Wordspy. Doesn't that look like a great site to go digging around in?
Where I Hang My Hat
I just checked languagehat as I always do everyday and my man, l hat, has a bee-stinging little blurb mocking the now-pretentious New Yorker (Brit spellings, l hat, because they gave it over to a Brit editor/publisher years ago, didn't they? You think old crude-ass Harold Ross is rolling over in his cigar-ash and bourbon-bottle trashed grave?). l hat's the best when it comes to sword-like wit--touche, New Yorkre--up your "imperial" you-know-what with a jeroboam of classic put down. Have a little taste of l hat:
In the "Talk of the Town" section of last week's New Yorker, there's a story about an incident in which rich person Steve Wynn decided to sell a Picasso to rich person Steven Cohen for $139 million, but in the course of showing off his prize possession to a bunch of other rich people he accidentally put his elbow through the painting and decided to keep it after all. This being a language blog, I don't have to try to express exactly how I feel about these rich people and their art deals, but I do want to comment on one phrase in the story, which I have put in bold: "Mary Boies ordered a six-litre bottle of Bordeaux, and when it was empty she had everyone sign the label, to commemorate the calamitous afternoon." Now, there is a well-established system of nomenclature for wine bottles, and the correct term for a six-liter* bottle of Bordeaux is imperial (image). I find it baffling that when the rare occasion arises for talking about such a bottle you would scorn the chance to use a wonderful word like imperial (not quite as imposing as methuselah, the word for a six-liter bottle of Burgundy or champagne, but splendid enough). I'm guessing that the rich person ordering the bottle did not use the mot juste ("Bring us your biggest bottle of Petrus!" is more likely), but it saddens me that the magazine did not choose lexicographic precision over the mathematical variety.
*Why on earth is the New Yorker using the British spelling of liter? Nothing against British spellings, but they do not belong in New York publications.In case you've let it slip your mind:
Almost 100 people a day a being killed in Iraq this month. 90 today.
Look's like it's "dump and run" time with Bush. We're headed for Iran, according to Scott Ritter.
for The Daily Growler