The Taxman Cometh
“Ask not for whom the Taxman cometh. He cometh for You.” — I said that
“Now in those days a degree went out from Caesar Augustus that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.” — King James Bible
Why do you s’pose Ol’ Caesar Augustus degreed that a census be taken?
So all hands could be taxed, eh b’ys?
Friggin’ Augustus. Taxing tout la monde caught on like patch-a-berry jam on dough balls.
April is waning. In the Land of the Maple Leaf all the inhabitants are tallying up their loonies and filling in blanks and boxes on income tax forms.
Nevertheless, despite my imperfect ability to quote scripture, Dearest Duck startled me yesterday when she exclaimed, “Easy enough for you to say!”
Naturally assuming I was at fault for… for… something or other, for sure, I said, “My Duck?”
Jabbing her index finger at her iPad’s screen with force enough to squish all the jellies in Candy Crush Land, she continued, “Easy enough. Easy enough.”
“My Duck?” said I again, leaning over, all the better to see that she wasn’t poking Candy Crush cells. Rather, she was jamming her finger into the eyes of a Facebook posting. “My Duck?” “Look. Look,” she said, sounding like a Dick and Jane reader. “They’re at it again. Saying churches should be taxed.”
“Hmmm?” said I, thinking that such action might not necessarily be a bad thing, considering Dearest Duck and I had done our tallying, filled in our blanks and boxes… and wept.
“Where do those… those…” — I’d hate to think the word my Dearest hissed was god-forsaken? — “those people think churches get their money?”
Never the curliest shaving in the woodbox, I said, “What?”
“Taxing the church would be like a double tax on church goers,” said Dearest Duck, still beating the face off her iPad.
Fearing her distress might trigger a stroke, or — a lesser fear, for certain — fracture the iPad’s face, damage which would not qualify for an income tax claim, I gently pulled the device from her hands. “Be calm, my Duck,” said I. “You be calm,” she said, jumped to her feet and chuffed off like a steaming teakettle.
Intrigued, I pondered Dearest’s point. “Hmmm?” Since I still had Dearest’s iPad in hand, I thought it might be beneficial to chat with Siri.
“Siri,” I said. “Where do churches get their money?” I swear Siri said, “Hmmm?” Then, after some digital computations, Siri said, “More than fifty per cent of church monies is accrued from parishioners’ givings.”
Ah, from collection plates.
Siri continued: “A second source of income for most denominations is investments.”
Although she spoke in terms of economic factors, assets and liabilities and apportionments — or something equally confusing to my benighted noggin — when the cabbage was boiled down, so to speak, all I understood were investments.
Said information deserved a studied “Hmmm,” I figured.
Still deliberating, I lodged Siri down on an end table and went off to steep a cup of Tension Tamer.
Because I was in deepest contem- plation, fixing Tension Tamer took a spell.
When I returned to the iPad and swiped it open, Siri was still spewing data and scrolling information down the screen.
I sipped Tension Tamer and sized up Siri’s outpourings.
Ah — to put the Church’s means of income in a vernacular — “They charge for stuff.”
So, was Dearest Duck’s wrath rightly righteous? Would congregations be double-whammied? Don’t look at me. By the time I reached the dregs of my Tension Tamer I was thinking about widows.
Well, one biblical widow in particular.
In my ignorance, I confess I have no idea if Caesar Augustus was the chief romper in Rome when the widow in question attended…? ... well, attend temple in her day, I s’pose. You remember the story. When the collection plate reached her, the widow hove in a couple of mites — smallest coins of the Roman realm. That’s a lie. In Caesar Whoever’s day the coins would have been leptons. It was King James’ boy-oes who exchanged leptons for mites. Siri told me so. “Harry,” said Dearest Duck, returned with her ire ironed flat. “Evidently, your thoughts are as disjointed as a leg of mutton.”
That’s another lie. Dearest Duck didn’t mention a leg of mutton. That’s my foolishness.
Disjointed thoughts or not, I wondered if the Taxman cometh collecting at the Church’s door will he be clawing at any final coins the widow has squirrelled away in her change purse? He might. Thank you for reading.
“I sipped Tension Tamer and sized up Siri’s outpourings.”