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Tax drooling time

Rick Ryckeley's picture

Fred warned me for an entire year this would happen. Did I listen to him? Nope, and now I’m paying the price.
It’s tax time again, and the next few weeks will be spent by yours truly pulling out his hair — at least whatever is left that Little One hasn’t gotten a hold of.
Running Grumpy Grandpa’s Daycare, running after Little One, and trying to compile taxes all at the same time is ... well, nothing short of taxing. Finding and then reading all the faded receipts from the many stacks of paper someone has piled around our house will be an almost impossible task, even for me, this year.
I’d blame Little One for all the piles, but the only things she can stack are little soft blocks on Big Papa’s head. Besides, there would be no stacks or piles if I had only listened to Fred.

Nope, he isn’t the Number Cruncher CPA we’ve been using for almost 30 years. Fred is the voice in my head.
Now before you call in the folks with straitjackets, you have to know two things. First: when they arrive at our house, they can leave the straitjacket in their truck. I have one in the basement.
I kid you not. It’s left over from my days as a magician. Trust me, it’s not so easy to get out of one. Especially if you’re hanging upside down by your ankles and attached to a burning rope some 30 feet up in the air.

But that’s a story for another time, and, yes, I went to the hospital that day, and, yes, Fred was screaming at me the entire time.
Second: this isn’t a recent condition with which I have suddenly become afflicted. I’ve been hearing Fred for as far back as I can remember. When I don’t listen to what he says, I get into big trouble.
At age 6, Fred told me not to throw rocks at a giant paper wasp nest down by the swamp in our backyard. I was 6 – not Fred.
Don’t really know how old he was. But it was the first time I heard his voice in my head, the first time I didn’t heed his warning, and the first time I was stung by eight hornets.

It was also the first time Mom took me to the hospital, but it wasn’t the last. At age 7, I took another trip to the hospital, and Fred was waiting to say, “I told you so.”
Anytime one of my brothers said, “It’s safe; no one will get hurt,” it wasn’t and someone always did.
When Older Brother Richard said those words, he had convinced me to hold a glass just before Mom’s homemade Valentine candle exploded.
Seems that’s what happens when boiling wax is poured into a cold glass container. For years, Mom had a perfect wax replica of my right hand, and I had my first permanent scar. All because I didn’t heed Fred’s warning.

Over the years, the results have been the same. Listen to Fred, and all is well. Don’t listen to Fred, and I get hurt, take a trip to the hospital, or even worse.
The first of last year, Fred told me to be more organized, have a better filing system, and get rid of my now infamous stack and pile system.
I didn’t listen to him. Now Little One has toppled most of my stacks and drooled on all of my piles.
Ever try to read a faded receipt that has been drooled upon? This is gonna takes weeks to figure out.

On second thought, maybe filling out my taxes this year really isn’t a problem. If I can’t read those faded, drooled-upon receipts, then when I get audited, those government folks won’t be able to either.
Looks like Little One might be on to something.
Grumpy Grandpa’s could expand into tax preparations with a whole new way to fill out tax forms – drooling.

[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, served as a firefighter for more than two decades and has been a weekly columnist since 2001. His email is His books are available at]

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