Tuesday, April 15, 2008

First, the Bad News; Then the Good Stuff

Too many good people have good jobs where they have to deliver bad news.

The doctor.
The school principal.
The parent.
The mail carrier.
The newspaper guy.
And the accountant.

Happy April 15th, everybody! If you've already received and spent your refund, NOBODY CARES. If you've already received and spent your refund and already have your Economic Stimulus check earmarked for some great piece of electronic wizardry or a down payment on a shiny new car, WE STILL DON'T CARE. Big plans for some home improvements? NOPE. STILL DON'T CARE.

According to our accountant, we are not alone when it comes to paying out the rear for 2007. When we picked up our final returns, she was prepared with a prescription for Phenergan, a roll of Tums and a bottle of Calomine. Why?

"I called one client to give her similar news, and she vomited," she said. "And another client I called, well, he crapped in his pants. Literally." And a third, she told us, learned his fate by telephone and later came to her office just to show her his hives. She might just qualify to be on Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs."

Monday's headlines let us know that it could be worse. Five-time Grammy winner Dionne Warwick, for example, owes $2.7 million in state (California) taxes. Do you think she crapped in her pants when she first learned this? I know I would have.

Bill Clinton's former political adviser Dick Morris, now a Fox News analyst, has had his share of tax woes. Among them, he reportedly owed $452,367 to the state of Connecticut and some crazier amount to the IRS. Morris says that so far, he has paid almost $3 million in state and federal taxes. I think that warrants some vomiting. Accompanied by hives.

FINALLY, Some Good News from "The Today Show"

If you caught this morning's edition of "The Today Show," a constant Thorn In My Side that equally wrecks and makes my day, you may have seen the segment about Barack Obama playing basketball. No, wait, that wasn't the inspiring story of overcoming adversity and reaching for your dreams that I meant to highlight. The story is about the 70-year-old man who has gone back to school ... back to first grade. After ushering his grandchildren to and from their elementary school for some time, he quietly asked one of the first-grade teachers if she could help him learn to read. And she did. She tutored him for several weeks and witnessed his gradual climb toward literacy.

The footage shows a tall, black, 70-year-old Alfred eating lunch alongside tiny 6-year-olds, sitting in a circle during storytime and walking down the school hallway, and it zooms in on some of his handwriting, scrawled on colored construction paper -- some of the first words he has ever written.

"What a nice way to end this half-hour," Matt Lauer tells Meredith Vieira. Wonder why they don't start the half-hour that way ...