I often hear derogatory remarks directed towards the IRS. I must admit that many of these critical remarks originated with me. Not that I do not like my good old Uncle Sam, it is that he is a little demanding when it comes to tax time.
Every year I complain about filing my income tax and paying out gobs and gobs of dollars to the United States government. I know it is important to pay taxes, and I pay my fair share even though it may be grudgingly.
Throughout the years, I have complained that dear old Uncle Sam never writes me a letter. I will have to amend that complaint because I recently received a personalized letter from the IRS.
Well, you can imagine my surprise at getting this letter. With trembling hands, I opened the letter, anxious to know what was going on in the world of Uncle Sam. I expected a detailed letter of what he was doing and how he was getting along and how the kids were and all that sort of thing. Imagine my surprise when none of that information was contained in the letter.
From the contents of the letter, and I must say a lot of it was goobly glop, I had fallen far short of my share of income tax this past year. According to the letter, I was a gazillion dollars short of what he had expected from me and quite frankly, he was disappointed in this behavior on my part. Do not ask me how many zeros a gazillion dollars have because I do not know. I do not have that many fingers or toes.
Although I read the letter several times it was not quite clear how much I actually owed and what plans there were in place for me to pay it back. From what I could understand from the letter, I owed good old Uncle Sam an arm and a leg, and he was highly expecting that I would come through for him.
Well, that kind of letter did not sit well with me. I was tempted to leave the country, then sneak back as an illegal alien, and not have to worry about all this nasty stuff. But, I did not have that much energy available.
There was a phone number I was to call if I had any personal questions. Boy, did I have some personal questions. I was fully expecting not to get a real human voice when I called.
But, again, I was pleasantly surprised. Within 30 minutes and after dozens of pushing this button and pushing that button I had on the other end of the phone a very pleasant and cheerful voice, a representative of the IRS.
After we exchanged some personal niceties and followed up on the weather report from each of our locations, we finally got down to the real business of the phone call.
I must confess I was not expecting such pleasantries from an IRS agent. I assumed she had the telephone in one hand and a loaded, fully cocked revolver in the other. If she did, she concealed it most admirably.
Then we got down to the nitty-gritty of what the IRS is all about: collecting taxes from potentially delinquent taxpayers, like myself. The thought that I deliberately was delinquent was rather humiliating for me. Simply put, I just did not pay enough in, but this telephone call was going to rectify all of that.
After she crunched all the figures and as I waited patiently on my end of the phone, she was able to determine I owed the government an arm and a leg. It was then that the negotiations began in earnest.
I must confess she could not have been any nicer had she been my grandmother.
She then began to query as to which arm and which leg I was going to give to the government. This presented a real difficult decision on my part. Throughout the years, I have grown quite fond of both arms and both legs. Then I asked her if I could counter a proposal. She replied in the affirmative.
"Would you consider," I began rather slowly, "an arm OR a leg?"
There was a pause on the other end of the phone when I could tell she was thinking. Whenever you get a government employee to think, watch out. I could hear the old wheels grinding and grinding. Finally, she said, "I think that would be acceptable. And, I'll even allow you to select either arm or leg. We like to work with people."
Now the burden was on me. I now owed the government an arm OR a leg and I just had to select which one. I first considered my arms. In thinking about them, I use both of my arms although the left one less than the right one every day. What with writing and eating my arms are rather busy throughout the day.
Then I considered my legs. I like my right leg and so the choice became rather easy for me. Now, the United States government has at least one leg to stand on, thanks to Yours Truly.
I have something greater to stand on.
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (Galatians 5:1 KJV).
Jesus Christ trumps Uncle Sam when it comes to liberty.