Death and taxes….


…. the only two things that are sure, according to the reputed wisdom of Poor Richard, the alter ego of Benjamin Franklin. At least, that’s the way the story goes. Well, death seems a sure thing, and we’ve dealt with more than our usual share of it lately, leading to the grim subtitle of this particular space. As you may know, in some views of the way the world works, Death is a friend that hovers over a person’s left shoulder, providing helpful guideance toward that inevitable moment when one takes flight, beyond the left shoulder, into… the great beyond.

Taxes, of course, are another matter. They can be dodged, cut, deferred, delayed, avoided, evaded, but of course the categorical imperative kicks in (Thank You, Emmanuel) and since now everybody’s doing it, the burden of how to pay for today’s excesses falls not quite squarely on the shoulders of the unborn, who must at all costs be allowed to come into the world, because God loves future taxpayers, especially the ones who are going to be born rich enough to know how to game the system. God bless ’em, every one. Pass the pudding.

I’ve taken the high road, filled out my filing, and claimed my own personal refund from my so-much-more-than-bankrupt government. Evidently it’s the patriotic thing to do, since the official word is that deficits don’t matter. Heigh-ho.

On a day perhaps not unlike this one, a taxpayer in ancient Judea, who didn’t mind giving the image of Caesar back to Caesar, borrowed a donkey for a few minutes or hours (hm, under current IRS rules he would have had to report the rental value of the animal as income, and of course if he did any favors for the owner, maybe a healing, then said person would owe the gummint a percentage of the value of health services rendered…. but I digress). He faced the twin evils of taxes and of death with equal equanimity, it seems, giving both their due and, as the tale is told, emerging all the richer (and more alive) for all that. But some of that is next week’s story. This is a tale in which everybody wants to be on the side of the good guys, no matter what role in the drama they have played. This week’s special: the rehabilitation of Judas Iscariot.

Hail, George Orwell.

Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is Strength. War is peace. And, apparently, treachery is loyalty.

Is this a great planet, or what?

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