It hit me last Friday morning when I was doing my taxes. I have come to the realization that I mumble to myself—a lot. It’s like I am narrating my day, not only to myself but directed at furniture, food and/or electronic equipment. And I’ll be the first to admit to blurting out a random epithet to no one in particular while driving.
Am I alone on this?

Further, I’ll bet anyone who lives with a dog or a cat or any other species of pet-type critters will eventually find themselves in the habit of talking to them. And this goes for newborn babies and television sets. Hey, people talk to their cars that won’t start, too, as if “come on” will help.

However, when walking around at the market, people start looking at you while audibly debating purchasing something, you know it’s time to either (1) shut up or (2) immediately put your hand on your ear and pretend you’re talking to someone on one of those cell phone ear-pieces.

Speaking of shopping etiquette, there should be some sort of unspoken protocol when running into someone you know while navigating the aisles at the grocery store.
Firstly, is it bad form to peek into their shopping cart to see what they’re buying?
Secondly, when the conversation is over, and you say something like “Take care” or “See you later,” what do you say when you run into them again around the corner in the next aisle?

“Err, hello again?”
As mentioned last week, the once-a-year tithe to our nation’s coffers is nigh. While it’s not true that Thomas Paine was once overheard mumbling, “Taxation with representation ain’t so hot, either,” I am proud to be a taxpaying American citizen, but I am apt to put it off as long as possible before sitting down and slogging through it. In years past, I was prone to delaying it until the last minute on April 15 and consequently having to race down to the post office, which would stay open until midnight, to get it postmarked on time.

It’s not that I mind paying my fair share, mind you; it’s just that I want to get through it as fast as possible. It’s the tension. Will I have to pay extra? Will I get a refund, or more importantly, will I get a big refund?

I even worry about inadvertently forgetting to report something, like the few dollars in interest from a savings account or winning two dollars on a lottery ticket and envisioning a brigade of IRS bean counters knocking at my door armed with adding machines and red ink pens.

Fun fact: The IRS figures that, on average, it takes eight hours to do your taxes: three hours to collect all your paperwork, two or three hours filling out the forms, and a couple more pulling out your hair.

Me, I’ve been using a computer program for the last few years to figure it all out, and it’s worked just fine. So far. You check this box, untick that box … the program asks you all pertinent questions, gives you a running total of what you owe or, hopefully, what your refund is, and magically sends it off to the IRS electronically.
No matter—we all have to fill out the forms—but I’m thinking they ought to change the date. Someone suggested that the first of the month, April Fool’s Day, should be income tax day, but I would be happy if it were Feb. 29.

On second thought, maybe not. Doing four years’ worth? I think not. Worrying that I might have gotten something wrong two or four years back and then get a big fine or jail time wouldn’t be worth the “every four-year” thing.

In all reality, though, I’ve heard the government is pretty fair when it comes to correcting an honest mistake. We all make mistakes. I mean, isn’t that why pencils have erasers?

Speaking of which, we just passed the 166th anniversary of the first pencil to have an attached eraser. It was on Mar. 30, 1858, that a guy named Hymen Lipman got the patent for it. I’m guessing Hymen, like some of us, had trouble passing math class in high school.

When I took Algebra II, my erasers wore out way before the No. 2s ran out of graphite, so I always kept a supply of those clunky, pointy add-on erasers on hand.
But I digress.

I read once that no less than Albert Einstein was rumored to have said, “One of the hardest things in the world to understand is income taxes.”

If I may, to paraphrase TV’s Arthur Godfrey, I am proud to be paying taxes. The only thing is, I could be just as patriotic for half the money.