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Finally got a new passport.

Such are my paranoia levels that for the past two weeks, I’d been obsessing that the State Department would send me a letter: Upon review of your passport application, we find that we cannot grant it. In fact, Nazis will be showing up at your door a little later this evening to help you begin your next life transition -- as a lampshade.

You’d think I’d been brought up on the south side of Chicago, my suspicion of the gub’mint is that intense.

I have no idea what this distrust springs from.

True, I was tear gassed a number of times as a protestor in the late 1960s and early 1970s. But I’ve never been arrested. And I can’t think of a single felony beside the obvious consciousness alteration ones I’ve ever committed.

Possibly, I read 1984 at too tender an age.

###

Selfless public service has not been all that much fun this year. I continue to like my clients – this week, for example, I had an adorable 99-year-old woman who was all dolled up for her visit to the Tax Man with rouge, diamond ear studs and (I kid you not) white lace gloves. She was stone deaf, so her harried daughter – probably a decade older than me – acted as translator.

The 99-year-old woman has $300 deducted from her pensions, and since her pensions are so tiny, she doesn’t need to have taxes deducted from them at all.

I pointed this out to the daughter when I was reviewing the 1040 with her after all the calculations and crunching were done.

The daughter laughed. “Oh, we know,” she said. “We do it because Mother gets such a kick when she gets that check for $300 every year.”

###

I don’t much like the other TaxBwana preparers I’m working with, though, except for the ones at the Dead & Dying Mall.

The TaxBwana preparers at the Dead & Dying Mall are efficient and never have IT problems.

The other two sites are rife with IT problems; the printers balk at printing, and when they do decide to print, they print out War and Peace, a compendium of every obscure worksheet used in calculating tax liability. This stretches what should be an hour sit-down into an hour and a half.

Chas, the administrator for the other two sites, while basically nice enough, gets very testy and rude in that Old White Guy way when frustrated by IT problems. Since IT problems are ongoing, he’s almost always testy and rude, so I don’t enjoy working with him. And espirit de corps is probably 50% of the reason why anybody does volunteer work, right?

I love the bizarre little village of Staatsburg, but if I do this next year, I’m definitely not gonna do Hyde Park.

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