Posted: August 18, 2013 in The NERVOUS STOMACH Series

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I’m nineteen and wondering if I spelled nineteen right.  My mom passed away last month, so I’m kind of riding as low as a guy at nineteen can ride.  But it was peaceful and special and I was there with her at the end, so the lowness feels profound and high somehow.  Those are the thoughts on the first day I’ve ever had to file taxes in my life. 

I fill out the EZ form — my job at the publishing house (okay, disbursement clerk isn’t exactly being an author, but it’s one step closer to my dream) only earned me $17,000, but it’s enough to put me in the rat race. 

I seal the form and head to the post office.  I’m not quite sure why I waited for the last day — but with the mom situation, I cut myself the appropriate slack.

There’s a line at the post office — the BIG post office downtown, the one where the clerks wear ties and look kind of like Alec Baldwin — so I stand and wait. That’s when the gunman shouts.

“ALLRIGHT, ALL YOU M*&THR-F*$#ERS, DIE FOR YOUR SINS OF PROCRASTINATION!” he screams and points something black, metal, and slender at us. 

I don’t scream like all the other people in line.  I don’t hit the cool linoleum floor like they do, either.  I don’t even tremble. 

Something about the way he yells “M*&THR-F*$#ERS” pushes just the right button inside me.  I was there with my mom; she is gone; he yells M*&THR-F*$#ERS.  It offends me to the core.

I drop my 1040EZ mailing envelope and hop onto the post office counter.  The one that has forms like “change of mailing address” in little cubby holes.  The gunman looks my way. 

“Didn’t your mother ever tell you it’s not polite to curse in public?” I shout, whipping a stack of international mailing envelopes at him.  They shower the air and he shouts, waving the gun in a circular motion.  It’s like I feel, more than see, his finger tightening on the trigger. 

I don’t think, I just do.  My do includes a half-flip, half-Buffy-kick, as I land my nineteen-year-old bulk right on top of him.  He’s down before anybody can say the words “additional postage.”

Later, after the crowd has lifted me to their shoulders in salute, after CNN has compared me to Sylvester Stallone and Steven Segal, after I’ve put up a tribute page to my mom at, one of the Alec Baldwin clerks calls me at home. 

“Somebody found your 1040EZ form on the floor of the post office.  I went ahead and post-marked it for April 15.  I hope that was okay with you.”

“That’s okay,” I smile through the phone.

“Maybe we could get together for dinner sometime and I could share with you some of the benefits of filing your taxes early,” he continues.

I’m almost sure he can see my grin through the line.  “I look forward to it,” I reply.

For FUN, I put my stuff at
For SERIOUS, I put my stuff at 
I invite you to visit my stuff.

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