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A MILLION MILES FROM NORMAL – By Paige Nick BREAK-UP TAX
It’s tax season. That time of year when we begrudgingly call up our tax guy to come help us make head or tail of a year’s worth of paperwork. The time of year when my dining room table looks like fifty pieces of paper vomited on it. The time of year when we’re forced to scrummage around in the bottom of our wallets and drawers for all those faded till slips and important bits of paper that define our lives, so we can afkak and betaal for the luxury of being a semi-functioning member of society.
Hey someone’s got to pay for the boss’ wives’ hats, the latest jet and the refreshments at all those meetings to discuss potholes. And that sushi that must be eaten off a naked woman’s body won’t pay for itself you know. It all has to come from somewhere.
I don’t know why I’m flummoxed by it every season. It’s not like it’s a new thing. Tax has been around for eons. The first tax season occurred in ancient Egypt around 3000 BC. Even then Mummies needed the peoples to pay for their gold-lined sarcophagi and Pharaohs needed hieroglyphics lessons.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. We all know this. And it’s not just roads and corruption we pay for. Pretty much everything you can think of from late nights to red meat comes at a price. And you don’t always pay with money, take that last hunk of yellow cheese you ate for example, you’ll be paying for that in cholesterol and cellulite for years.
At the end of the day, we even have to pay for our relationships. Everyone must have paid Break-up Tax at some point in their lives. That’s when you break up with someone and don’t manage to get all your stuff back before you become persona non grata.
It’s a tricky time. When you’ve torn someone’s heart out of their ribcage using your bare hands, it can feel a little insensitive to ask for your favourite grey sweatshirt back. So these are the things we leave behind for the other person to have and to hold, or to shred and to burn, or to throw out of a moving car at speed. It’s up to them.
What you lose or gain all depends which side of the dump you’re on. I’ve earned some of my very favourite peak caps, hoodies and CD’s through break-up tax. I’ve also lost a favourite leather jacket, a pile of DVD’s and far too many books to count to it.
And Break-up Tax isn’t limited to possessions. Quite often it’s paid in people and places too. Out of the shattered ruins of every broken relationship, one of you gets to keep the friends and all your favourite couple hangouts – all those people you no longer see, and places you can no longer visit, because the other person got custody of them in the break up. You can write off everything from favourite restaurants, to coffee shops and secret parking spaces, even your perfect sun downer spot, Break-up Tax can be socially brutal.
And don’t think you’ve escaped tax if you’re married. It’s not just the players who have to cough up. If you want to be married, there’s a tax for that too. It’s called The Mother-in-law Tax and you pay it slowly, over many, many years.
There’s also a Drunk Tax, in the form of the bleeding-eyeball hangover. And in the case of my good friend Sarah, Drunk Tax claimed her cell phone last weekend too,when she dropped it in the loo at a local bar. See, there’s no such thing as free whisky. Even the ones that you don’t pay for cost.
Blisters and sore feet are High Heel Tax, Delhi belly is Curry Tax, and there’s even a Penis Tax for blokes. It’s called child support.
It’s pretty simple really, as sure as iPhone stores don’t believe your cell phone got just got ‘rained on’, mother-in-laws don’t believe in subtlety, and biltong makes you thirsty, in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except (sore break ups) death and taxes, and in some cases, death by taxes.