Today, I had a brutal hour-long workout and filed my taxes, and if I could play the day over again, I’d choose the workout twice.
It’s not that I take issue with the paying of taxes. The country needs something to run on, and even if I don’t agree with where every cent is applied, I figure the mental well-being I get from putting such things out of mind is worth well more than the dollars and cents that trickle away from each paycheck.
But when it comes time to file those taxes…there’s something evil about that. Something right near demonic.
You can feel it growing on you, as you squint and stare at form after form, the burden weighing down on your back, the life draining out through your eyeballs. It sucks and gnaws at you.
They say the devil never created anything. They say that all the evils of the world were perversions of something that was once beautiful and God-born. Greed, the perverted image of God-ordained stewardship. Rape and pornography, bent and twisted from God’s vision of love and rightful sexuality.
That might well be, for many of these things, but I think there is one thing the devil can lay claim to, and that is bureaucracy. Every carnal sin has some element of want to it, a desire grown out of self-serving. The thief seeks wealth, the murderer revenge, the adulterer love or something to mistake for it.
But bureaucracy is nothing but pure ugliness, through and through. No one takes selfish joy in it, no one hopes to gain from it. It’s vileness visits all alike, killing joy and hope, tainting all it touches with a moist blackness.
You ask me if there are demons in the modern era and I say, yes, you see them if you look. They’re hiding among the tax forms and the toll-free numbers and the lawsuits and the automated voice message systems and the credit card confirmations and the password recovery e-mails and all the thousand little interruptions that stop us from living, just for a few seconds here, a minute or two there, an hour on this end and a day on that, adding up in the end to lost months and stolen years.
There’s nothing you can do about it, I suppose. But I sometimes wonder how many prayers are anchored to earth with red tape, and if a tax refund is a worthy exchange for a soul.