I don’t know about you, but I’ve been seeing and hearing somebody or another on TV talking about the coming elections and asking—in the parlance of the politicos and the pundits—if I felt I am “better off than I was four years ago.”

And I’m thinking, heck yeah.

As I recall, we were in the full throes of COVID-19 apocalypse madness this time four years ago. To wit: People avoiding each other. School buildings closed. Quarantining. Face masks. Sanitizers. Hand washing. Elbow bumping. Latex gloves. Six-feet social distancing. Self-isolation. Toilet paper shortage. Ramen shortage. People saying, “This is crazy.” All degrees of color-coded public health decrees. Not to mention having a medicated Q-Tip stuck up my nose.

So yeah. Better off. Overall. Pretty much.

I do, however, still must file my income tax, but more on that later.

In the spirit of being scrupulously aware of my finances, maybe it’s time to re-visit the latest so-called life hacks. Life hacks are supposed to show you how to do mundane things more effectively, such as cleaning your headlights with Colgate and a toothbrush instead of bland old soap and water.

But I’ve found that using some of these tricks may turn something already simple into a Rube Goldberg nightmare, like what you must do to perfectly fold a fitted sheet. No can do.

And the idea of easily dolloping out pancake mix from a re-purposed ketchup squeeze bottle sounds like more trouble than it’s worth. I mean, how are you supposed to get the pancake mix into the squeeze bottle in the first place?

How about using dental floss to cut a cake? As for sticking the sliver of an old bar of soap onto a new bar, I thought everybody was doing that already. And I had no idea there were so many things you could do with Post-It notes or dryer sheets.

For more ideas, try Googling “life hacks” to learn all the incredible things you can do with a – heaven forbid – empty toilet paper tube.

But I digress.
Here it is the first week of April 2024, and so far, despite the customary springtime rain, snow, and gale-force winds, most everything is still in place—except maybe a train.
How does it go? Arizona blows and Texas sucks?

Whatever the case, your head may be spinning this weekend, what with multiple events going on. I guess that’s what springtime is all about; getting out and doing stuff.
For example, there’s the fishing derby at Escondida Lake, PAS’s spring musical, The Addams Family, and the Hammel Museum opens. And make sure to take advantage of the Eclipse Viewing Party at the library on Monday when ol’ Sol will be 70 percent blocked by the moon. A welding helmet could come in handy.

But hey, if you were looking forward to visiting ground zero out on White Sands Missile Range, the U.S. Army says the Trinity Site Open House (usually held on the first Saturday of April) is canceled due to “unforeseen circumstances.” Although they didn’t say what the circumstances were, it could be one of their missile launchings or bunker-buster tests, but for all I know, it could be that a gigantic Spielberg-ish alien spacecraft will be landing for a secret meeting with scientists and dignitaries. Enquiring minds want to know.

If you need other stuff to celebrate, keep in mind that besides Egg Salad Week, this is also International Pooper Scooper Week, Read a Road Map Week and Laugh At Work Week.

In addition, April is National Humor Month, Boost Your Hometown Month, National Food Month and National Frog Month. It’s also the month the Civil War ended.

Next Tuesday, April 9, is the 158th anniversary of Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Gen. Grant at Appomattox Court House after his army ran out of food and his troops started deserting. But wouldn’t you know that it wasn’t long before various recalcitrant wanted to do reenactments and pretend to keep that god-awful thing going?

Anyway, as we approach the middle of April, income tax day is a-comin’ round the bend when I just want to hightail it in the other direction. The title of the Ray Bradbury novel Something Wicked This Way Comes is what I think of when April 15 rolls around.
Regardless, between now and then I’m putting together my IRS mixtape. So far, I’ve added Money by Pink Floyd, 1040 Blues by Robert Cray, Taxman by The Beatles, I’d Rather Be Rich by Chicago, and Money Money Money by Abba. For that matter, Brother Can You Spare a Dime by Bing Crosby also comes to mind.

Honestly, I have no problem paying my income taxes, but I’m wondering … do you think maybe there’s a life hack for paying what you owe? Like folding a one-dollar bill in such a way it looks like a one-hundred?
What do you think?