You know you’re getting old and cranky when:
You’re angry at tax time regardless of whether 1) you must write a check to the Infernal — oops, Internal — Revenue Service, or 2) you get a refund.
In the case of the first aggravation, it’s another drop-in-the-ocean payment to a profligate national government that’s more than $19 trillion in reckless, record debt.
In the second galling circumstance, those bumbling federal bureaucrats have been holding your money without paying you any interest.
But if you pay late, they will charge you interest.
OK, so we get three extra days this year to file our federal and state returns, thanks to the city of Washington’s Emancipation Day holiday of April 16 falling on a Saturday.
So what? That just drags out this taxing period’s frustrations for many of us — and not just us old-timers.
Still, rather than wallowing in the bitterness that seems to come so sadly with age, do your civic duty and pay your taxes. Otherwise, you might end up paying not just interest fees but a prison-time price.
Back to other often-irrational irritants that afflict too many of you — and me:
You’re a local homeowner who dwells on the drawbacks of soaring property values — as in higher taxes and insurance bills — rather than the net-worth uplift.
You’re riled either when you see that you have a phone message (who’s bothering me now?) or when you don’t (why doesn’t anybody ever call me?).
You fume, while stuck in traffic as the lone occupant of your motor vehicle, over why more locals don’t carpool, bike or ride CARTA buses to reach their destinations.
You’re irate at those who put you, themselves and others in peril by driving, biking, walking, running, eating, drinking and carrying out assorted other endeavors while texting.
You resent that 1) so many modern Americans evidently are addicted to the relentless use of new-fangled, electronic gizmos, and 2) you’re lost in these changing times of ever-proliferating, attention-span-draining gadgets.
You deem the appalling miscasting of Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” a sign of the end times.
You still haven’t gotten over the scourge of baseball’s designated hitter rule, an affront to not just our national pastime but the individual responsibility of a pitcher to bat and a batter to field. At least the National League, aka “The Senior Circuit,” disdains the DH and remains a sanctuary for good old nine-man hardball. And Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta, who won last season’s NL Cy Young Award, did hit a 442-foot home run — longer than any that he’s allowed over the last five seasons — Sunday in a 7-3 victory at Arizona.
You’re a Atlanta Braves fan so mad at their management for gutting their roster that you’re rooting against them.
You’re a Mount Pleasant resident wary of permits already granted for so many new apartments. Yet you’re also leery of the 180-day moratorium on new permits passed by Town Council on Tuesday night. You know that when government restricts residential construction, the inexorable forces of supply and demand inevitably elevate housing prices.
And that, of course, further boosts property taxes and insurance bills.
Pop test, with the first two questions on insightful observations that have previously graced this space (answers at column’s end):
1) Name who wrote: “When there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income.”
2) Name who says: “Even businessmen, who rob and steal and cheat from people every day, even they have to pay taxes.”
3) Name the two U.S. vice presidents who have resigned that office.
Enough downers already for one column.
Lest you imagine that life’s glass is half empty instead of half full (or is it full of something you wouldn’t want to drink?), ponder how much better off we are today than folks were in these parts 301 years ago tomorrow.
From Professor Walter Edgar’s authoritative “South Carolina: A History”:
“On 15 April 1715 (Good Friday) the Yamassee (Indians) attacked isolated plantations near Port Royal and killed nearly one hundred settlers. By June more than 90 percent of the traders among the Indians had been killed. Among the whites killed was (Scottish settler and Indian agent) Thomas Nairne, who had pine splinters inserted under his skin and then lit. He died a slow, agonizing death. Settlers in outlying areas abandoned their homesteads and fled for safety near Charleston.”
See, there are fates worse than paying income taxes or waiting on refunds.
1) Greek philosopher Plato offered that fair warning roughly 2,400 years ago in the “The Republic, Book 1.”
2) Truck driver Lennie Pike (played by Jonathan Winters) teaches that civics lesson in the 1963 movie “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”
3) Vice President John C. Calhoun of South Carolina wasn’t getting along with Andrew Jackson, the only president born in our state. So Calhoun resigned late in 1832 to take a seat in the U.S. Senate.
Vice President Spiro Agnew, who like Plato was of Greek heritage, resigned in 1973 while pleading no contest to income tax evasion.
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is email@example.com.