By Harvey Tobkes

In my pre-retirement years, most of my personal papers were in a state of disarray; yet, in one instance that fact served me well. How so? Read on!

IRS Woman

Many years ago, I was notified by the Internal Revenue Service to appear at their offices for examination of my tax returns (in other words they thought perhaps I had underpaid). I waited with other mournful souls in an outer office expecting I would be next to be summoned to the inner torture chamber. Out came an old battle-axe, with a face that would terrify Ivan The Terrible, and I started saying my prayers. As our eyes met, I froze in horror as “Frau Dachau” called out, “Ms. Carol White, you’re next, please.follow me.” Whew! I started to breathe again, having momentarily escaped expensive detection of any tax payment shortfall, plus imposed penalties.

Only a short while later, another examiner emerged with a clip-board in hand. I noted a beautiful young woman, with a café au lait complexion, wearing the shortest mini-skirt imaginable, and I did a lot of imagining; she called, “Mr. Harvey Tobkes, please,” (she even pronounced my name properly, which was a rarity and a good omen).

After a little chit-chat I found out she was married, and that she and her husband, Al, loved Mercedes-Benz automobiles, and of course she knew from my W-2 form that I sold that brand. To cut a long story short, she finally got down to business, and asked me for the proofs of my medical, charitable and business expenses. Never having had a game plan or the foggiest idea how I was going to handle this inevitable question, I waited for an epiphany to pop into my head, and…poof! It came to me. I looked into her sexy eyes and said with deep felt honesty, “I am a very disorganized person, I know it’s terrible, but I am overwhelmed by paperwork and I can’t keep records, I guess you might say I enjoy doing all the fun things in life and do not have time for the mundane; so just use your own judgment and figure out what you think I owe the government.”

Her fingers flew over the adding machine making Ka ching, Ka ching, Ka ching noises and finally it stopped. There was a moment of silence. And then she said you owe $129.14.

I was so thrilled with the bargain of a lifetime, I offered to pay cash on the spot. “Oh no,” she said, “we will send you a bill in 6 weeks, and you then can send us a check.”

I left the office singing, “Happy Days Are Here Again.”

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