Essay: My Day After Tax Day Rant

It’s the day after Tax Day here in the States, and pardon me if I stand as I write this … after my annual raping by the IRS, I’m still a little sore down there.

I would have posted this yesterday, but after mailing my check I felt I needed some liquid pity, and by the evening the bleary effects of many gin and tonics had taken full hold, and bits of memory are only now drifting back into the light, like the slow fallout of ash after a nuclear blast.

Pontificating from my barstool offered a perfect opportunity to rant about the injustice of it all, but I remember thinking that I didn’t want to look like a raving loony, especially after a few G&Ts, because even at my most hammered, I never make a spectacle of myself in public.

And yet, the need to rant lingers, because now I’m hungover and irritable (and a little hungry), and we all know what an dangerous combination that can be. But my rant isn’t so much about the shabby treatment shown me by the IRS, or a railing about all that ‘taxation without representation’ crap, but rather the serious career ramifications that it brings about. And that pisses me off.

So this is my rant …

Some backstory: I run my own small business, and when I say small, I mean it’s just me. I run my own creative shop where the majority of my work is writing, copyediting and graphic design. (we’re hoping to eventually fit photography in there too, but all in due time). I started my business three years ago, and so far so good. I’ve weathered the American economy, and my business has actually grown in small but encouraging amounts. The entrepreneurial spirit lives!

Quite frankly, I love running my own gig. The freedom and independence is amazing, but I don’t take advantage of that. I know it’s all about the work, and furthering my business. I’m disciplined enough to focus on just the work, and in my time doing this, I’ve learned to ignore the many distractions. It’s now become my lifestyle, and I love it. I’m fiercely committed to making this a success. And there’s no reason why I can’t do that. Right?

Until April rolls around, and the government taxes you with such extreme prejudice (or, as I like to say, rapes you with the reckless abandon of a well-traveled porn star), that it sends you right back to square one, despite the fact that you did better than any other year. You write a giant check and you get a giant headache and you begin to wonder if running small business is even worth it. Your reward for working harder and bringing more revenue? Pay more taxes, more than ever before. Make more money, pay more taxes. When does that spiral end? Or does it?

And let’s not even talk about these idiot politicians spouting off about how small business is the backbone of the American economy. That sounds nice, especially in an election year, but the government makes it so hard for a small business to survive that sometimes it doesn’t seem worth the effort. In the meantime, gazillion dollar corporations are getting massive tax breaks and their CEOs have more money than God. It doesn’t make sense.

It’s at this time that I really begin to doubt myself and my commitment to the independent life. Maybe I should go back to working for agencies, and all the madhouse antics that entails, the same antics, I might add, that contributed to my fondness for gin and tonics. As much as I love being the master of my own domain, these Aprils are becoming too hard on my bank account and my psyche.

So thank you, Uncle Sam, for not only taking my money, but for robbing me of my confidence and doubting my will to succeed. Thanks for sending me into a tailspin. Thanks for the hangover, damn you.

But you haven’t heard the last of me. You’ll see. I may be hungover now, but I won’t be tomorrow, and it won’t be long before my sense of steely resolve returns. Like a hero from a Springsteen song, I will rise up … just as soon as the headache goes away and this most recent wave of nausea passes. I have a dream, dammit, and while it’s a little hazy right now, I still have a dream!

And btw … every time this happens I get a little bit smarter, a little bit shrewder, and I’m developing a game plan for next year where I just might beat you at your own game. Oh, you might still rape me, but you won’t enjoy it as much.

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