The Power of My Proven System, Vol. 31 

Tax Time

Dispatch: 4/02/07
5:22 pm EST, New School University
New York, New York

I got a second lease on life. Specifically, it's a two-year lease with a $1200 security deposit. If following twenty-four months the conditions seem tolerable and the rent isn't raised, I may elect to renew. Otherwise, I'll be moving from the planet Earth. I frankly find the neighbors a little unseemly, and the landlord is capricious and utterly cruel.

Now that I'm on borrowed time, I feel sensitized to certain shortfalls in my entertainment dollar. I have, for instance, against my better judgment, once again invested both financially and emotionally in the NCAA Tournament. Every year I attempt to arrest this impulse, and every year I end up dropping something like $100 on various insane betting pools, pyramid schemes, money-earning gambits and other nefarious enterprises which brush up against the outskirts of madness and legality. I do not, as a rule, ever succeed in winning even one dollar for my efforts, and in fact the tournament acts upon me like a kind of cruel retroactive tax.

Tax time, with its myriad infernal miseries, is even more difficult for some of us than others. My training in the arts, while ardently rigorous, has hardly prepared me for the craze of columned numbers and letters which make up a 1040 form. As regards the awesome complexity of the 1098 or (God forbid) 1120 series items, I should just as likely shoot through a hole in the cosmos as complete even one of these things accurately. The trail of tears which comprises my previous last several years of income tax filing has featured one crucial mistake followed by the next, a litany which has quite inadvertently taken me to the very top of the IRS’s list of “Persons Of Ongoing Concern.”  This began in 2001, when  I misread my W9 form and mistakenly sent in a sweepstakes entry for the Smooth Move Skin and Body Care company's "Get Sexy Giveaway." When I did not receive a refund, I placed several harrassing phone calls to certain high-ranking Federal Agents. Further antagonism on both ends followed from this point until such time as I was threatened with house arrest and forced to briefly changed my name to Victor Consualez. When I resurfaced in 2005, I got confused again and sent in my tournament brackets and a $15 “entry fee." In none of this can I claim to be entirely blameless, but the madcap nature of the season strikes me as inextricable from this misfortune.

Anyway, I now typically find myself in an irretrievably horrible situation. The finals are upon us. I don't like Florida and I don't like Ohio State. I had to watch the Gators run riot over the Buckeyes in the BCS Championship game, and I suppose I'll do the same this evening, ruefully, when I tune in to watch this ugly mismatch. I feel with something verging on maximum confidences that they will do so again tonight, with a score something like114-50.

But oh Christ, whatever. Play it as it lays. Things are going to be rocky here for a little while, maybe the continuity will serve us in good stead. Only two teams and one result to remember. An easy mark for cognitive mapping.

Dispatch: 4/03/07
10:11 am, 1*5 **** Street Apt. 1A
Brooklyn, New York

Well, let’s not kid ourselves: that was a very vile and ugly thing the Florida Gators did last night to Ohio State. And this despite the presence of Greg Oden, who resembles one of those stately steam engines I used to see in the basement of the Smithsonian’s American History Museum when I was a child. The other night Jeff Green of the Georgetown Hoyas attempted to step in front of him and take a charge in the last minutes of the semifinal and was crumpled like a trick hat. I verifiably admired Green’s gumption in a pinch, but feared for his well being in the aftermath. Anyway, he was ok I guess, but the game essentially ended at that point: I was rooting hard for my hometown Hoyas and fully expected them to perpetrate one of their miracle comebacks — until Oden crashed into Green with Richter Scale impact. I just got my things together and left Dempsey’s with 2:39 still remaining in the game.

Florida was too smart to even bother attempting to contain this man mountain, this life force. They just allowed Oden to take over the paint — conceded to him a career game, took away the perimeter — and worried about generating opportunities for their highly versatile scoring machine. Much has already been written and said about this wily, experienced team and their young coach who has already assembled a masterful pedigree, but even setting that aside this struck me as a marvel of strategic acumen. I wonder if this is not an underused strategy in all sports — to know when you are beaten at a certain position or in a certain capacity — thus liberating you from even trying to stop the inevitable. In fact, I wonder if this is not an underused strategy in life? Truly in my personal affairs I have been caught too often playing man to man when I should have been in zone. For what reason? Was it out of pride, or did I just not know my enemy?

Anyway, I like Joakim Noah. I can’t even figure out if he’s any good: sometimes he looks like a 10 year pro; other times he seems like the tenth best guy on the floor in a college game. But I am now quite sure I like him, and for all the reasons which seem to inspire such antipathy in others: the histrionic and mincing gestures, the flouncing, bobbing Sanjaya-like hair, the vexing hustle and gamesmanship. Plus, off the court he is by every account a tremendously decent and thoughtful young man — and that’s good — but that is not what I like. What I like is the needling nature of his game time persona. I want to see more of this kind of officious public irritant in my life.

Dispatch: 4/4/07
8:03 am EST, New School University
New York, New York

I know that the seams are showing here. I know! What do you people want from me exactly? What precisely can I provide you now headlong into a slate gray April week seemingly stripped from the rivers and skies of a Northwest logging town? Season indeterminate, no cues from the weather — and I am looking at my calendar…Opening day, closing night, the Masters…

The Masters.  Just 24 hours from now. This bald and shameless celebration of American plantation life, this pageant of elitism: why is Augusta the only place I feel like visiting every April? I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I have been kept up very late the past two nights with anticipation. My favorite sporting event of the year represents something vital: we are now through the dream novel phase of late winter sports, after the NFL, before baseball, when you wake up and you don’t have any gravity. This sensation is like something greater than relief. I tell you, sometimes I feel we are taxed beyond our means.


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