Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Up Side of Poverty

I just did my taxes, online, as usual, paying about $30, as usual, for one of those "free" services that aren't actually free at all. Which doesn't surprise me - they are designed for poor people like me and if there's one thing poor people like me know, when it says Free it means it's going to cost. Who cares, though, since it is easy and pleasant to do your taxes when you don't have any money and the government is going to send you some when you're done. It's like the big yearly upside to dire poverty: I get to just click through all those pesky questions about interest income and rental income and, in fact, any income of any kind that isn't on my W-2. How convenient! How delightfully simple! How fucking poor am I?

At least I didn't become totally and permanently disabled in 2007 - they used my name in that question and it kind of gave me a chill. I'm not blind either - although I have had this theory for years that the government has to buy me glasses if I ever become even more direly impoverished than I already am, since I'm so myopic as to be effectively blind. I could be wrong about that, though; the attics of my brain are full of odd and possibly invalid factoids. And, to finish up the odd trifecta of weird IRS questions that give one pause, I didn't get any money from the retired railroad engineers fund. Why do they get a fund? I've always thought it was kind of like the Confederate veterans fund - the last remaining engineers who built the railroad and steered the trains through the outlaw infested Western prairie, fending off John Wayne and Clint Eastwood and, gods help them, even Emilio Estevez, finally get their pensions, or their widows, who they married when they were 94 and the brides were 13, are now living large on that fund, like all $74 a month of it. That's my theory anyway - completely unsupported by anything resembling research or facts!

In other news, Fang 2 is still alive! M has suggested that I put a button up on the blog - Fang 2: Alive or Dead? so it could be checked every day and I might just do that. Not that I think he's going to die - Fang 2 was clearly a child railroad engineers bride. His life just keeps on getting better and better. Today, Fang 2 was the happy recipient of a heater, a live plant, a nonworking thermometer and a larger bowl. He started off with just the heater but then when we realized that even the small heater was too big for his gallon or so bowl, clearly, something had to be done. This whole purchase entailed a trip first to the PetSmart, where I watched a young woman put her whole arm into a giant tank of crickets, which totally and permanently creeped me out to the point that I probably can never again encounter another cricket without incurring significant mental trauma - probably disabling enough to get me a special tax dispensation - and then a return to Wal Mart because PetSmart has no small heaters and anyway I had to go to Wal Mart since young M has rediscovered paintball fever and, help me jesus, the whole shopping trip went on and on. Yet still I didn't get to try on any jeans, which was supposed to happen at somewhere that didn't have the word Mart in its name.

Then, finding out at home that the heater was too big for the original bowl and also that it didn't have a thermometer included meant that I had to leave again (young M started saying terrible things about what might happen, like we'd wake up and find poor Fang 2 boiled alive) and go to another, different yet eerily the same, pet superstore for a bowl big enough for the heater. Then the whole shebang - Fang 2, water, plant, decorative stones - had to be transferred to the new bowl and I had to do math, even: to wit, if 1/2 a teaspoon of the dechlorinization stuff is good for 10 gallons of water, clearly, the only way to figure out how to dechlorinize one gallon of water is to count the drops in 1/2 a teaspoon and put a tenth of those drops into the water. This is a pain but, apparently, it works, since Fang 2 is still alive and he keeps movin' on up.

Although young M just checked the water and it's not warm enough - please let the heater be working, oh please. As young M said, it's too bad we can't just give him some little fish blankets. Or maybe it's good, because as it is I think we're spoiling him - at this rate he'll be expecting a 3000 square foot McMansionBowl by the end of the year with an adjustable rate mortgage and a minion to do his taxes.

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