I’m sure you all recognize my cousin Myron by now, aspiring author, GED diplomaer, trickster and idiot savant—with not so much savant. Myron, as you must recall is a whiz with numbers and anything related to numbers. He called me the other day as I was urging myself to sit down to do my taxes.
“Why don’t you let me do them?” he said with much hurt in his voice.
“Because you will get me audited,” I said. “You will get me fined and imprisoned.””Perhaps, you will get me executed,” I added.
I was being stubborn and I knew it. Myron did taxes for the whole family. In fact, he did the taxes for most of the neighborhood, in what was a thriving and growing business. He stands by his work and his clients, much like that faithful Labrador retriever, which I remark whenever I can, he more than resembles. Not one of his clients has been fined, imprisoned or executed and his work is so meticulous that they have rarely been audited.
But Myron will be Myron. He has no accounting degree, let alone a CPA and when it came time to name his company—for the sign in the storefront, wedged comfortably between the green grocer and the tattooer, up on Pitkin Avenue—he named it “Close Enough Accounting.” Every time I considered bringing my forms to Myron, I get a picture of the line just below the signature line, which says name of preparer.
“I’m being audited next Tuesday,” Myron said sounding a bit put out. “And, I want you to go with me.”
“Sure,” I said.
There’s not much I wouldn’t do for Myron, even if a visit to the IRS for the purpose of an inquisition, ranks right up there with dying on my non-bucket list.
“Do they have the goods on you I asked?” trying unsuccessfully to sound like Perry Mason.
“Of course not, you moron,” he screamed. “I’m worried that I might lose my temper.”
Myron has reason to worry. Many of my relatives, and I’m sure quite a few of yours, have on occasion thrown a waiter or two through a plate glass window, but Myron is the only one I have ever known to throw a waiter through the window both ways. He threw some poor guy, who was both late with his fries and tried to defend his tardiness, through the window to the street, then stepping through picked him up and threw him inside again.
When Myron bought me breakfast that morning, I took the waitress aside and warned her. She survived. We got to the IRS at about 9 and took a number. It wasn’t until after 11 that an auditor was free to speak to us, but the wait was the worst part of the day. Myron and the auditor sparred for about two and a half hours. After that, Myron worked over the supervisor for another hour. When asked a question, Cousin Myron, would quote something that always sounded to me like, “Section 78, Paragraph 2, Line 101.” Gradually, through the stupor that had become my life in the IRS office, I began to realize that Myron had memorized the tax code, and could quote it like a preacher does the bible.
When we were freed, at about 4 PM, I couldn’t help but enlighten Myron with—“If you don’t want to be audited year after year, change the name of your business to something less IRS offensive.”
Myron gave me one of those long, sad looks that people usually reserve for Met’s fans.
“You don’t get it do you?” he asked. “I love to be audited.” “I look forward to it every year.”
“Do you have the whole tax code memorized?” I asked him.
“Yup,” Myron said.
“How long is it?” I asked. I found that I actually wanted to know.
“It’s 16,845 printed pages long,” he said. “Want to hear it?”
“No.” “Never,” I said, but at that moment, I realized that aside from Myron, the best anyone can ever do in filling out his taxes is to be close enough.
And now with that in my easier mind, I really have to get to mine.