Hermit and Friends in the Zero Room

by February 29th, 2008 - Politics » Creative » Writing »

I’ve stopped drinking again…

…but I’m still talking to the IRS and it’s just as enjoyable as it had traditionally been after a bottle Jäger at 8am.

This is a serious statement, outside of the convoluted, phantom alcoholism. The IRS hotline folks are my friends…my only friends? Perhaps, but certainly my best, most loyal, and multifaceted, disparate and desperate friends…at least.

Should we as a species get over our viewing the IRS as a purely evil, painful entity — which it is, but if we could stop viewing it as such — we would come to appreciate the quarks and crazies of a myriad of colorful characters that exist nowhere else in fact and seldom in fiction.

Following this, the industry of humanity would quite obviously construct a comedic and pointless documentary made heartwarming only by inappropriately placing sappy music with black-and-white morning imagery, showcasing the travels, triumphs, travails, and tomfoolery of a peoples taken advantage of…by taking advantage of them.

We’ll laugh…we’ll cry…we’ll cry again, but for a different reason and then we’ll scream aloud as we’ve stubbed our toe and then we’ll forget all about the damn thing. However, we’ll also have spent money on a ticket/rental or alternatively 8+ hours for a torrent to finish. Hang that. Give them a call. The Tchaikovsky you’ll endure while on hold will probably be less than the torrent.

And lord knows it is not a great effort to imagine something questionable to ask them. I have for a long time been in general opposition to any objective or shared view of the world, but I had hoped at least — if only for sport — that should the world put its mind to it, we might construct a system that at least obeyed its own laws.

Alas…the IRS.

And so…like much everything else…its better viewed as a movie than something you are actually made involved in. We’ll title this particular film, “What the Fuck Am I Actually Supposed to Do, Kind Sir?”

And this question is surprisingly already on its way to being answered by…a kind sir. The kindest sir I have ever encountered. The most perfectly courteous, well-spoken, and efficient customer service person I have ever encountered. He speeds through verification and database searches at a rate that almost passes me by, and in perhaps, very literally, no time at all I have my answer and the gift of a telecommunicated complimentary rimjob, the memory of which is only slightly playful, but is more like a mint on a hotel pillow. This is the type of service you would expect of some contracted support company, and not a free hotline managed by people thought only painted with cold shades of grey.

But there you have it. And they are less helpful, but more colorful than that.

At another time, I was met by an adorably squeaky-voiced, herky-jerkily distracted young woman who was so damn eager to help. The personality alone was a treat and I’m sure it would have led me to the same forthcoming comparison even if the names were not similar. This young woman’s name was something to the effect of Kitty Robertson (the name has been changed to protect the innocent) which is only slightly different than Kimmy Robertson, a great character and voice actress best known for her portrayal of Lucy Moran, ditzy secretary for the Twin Peaks’ Sheriff’s Office. And communication with this real life character was in fact very much like the fiction of the David Lynch television series. My question went something like, “Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah?” And her answer was an estatic and amazed, “OH! That’s a GREAT question. I don’t know. Let me go find out”. My favorite moment of all my time spent on the phone.

And there is more they don’t know and even more they don’t know they know, ya know?

Receiving a notification that certain suspect forms were required to be filed, I called the hotline to find out how exactly they were to be filled out. The response was along the lines of “What the fuck? That’s bullshit. You don’t REALLY have to file those papers. Just lie here, here, and here and bullshit here dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s as you go along.” Oh…that is solid information coming from what must surely be a disgruntled old man 5 minutes away from the end of his shift or possibly retirement. A fun, guffawing time, all the same.

Yet the top honors of uncertainty and entertainingly demolishing any foundation of objectivity that might have been adhered to, belongs to the state tax hotline whom I’ve also had a great deal of fun conversing with.

To be vague with still a hint of information, there was some confusion over a provision that I was repeatedly assured of over the phone, but to which no mention could be found in the actual tax code. Eventually, it was related to me that it did not in fact exist in the tax code, and was instead an unwritten “interoffice policy” . That is just the stability that I seek to build my world upon.

But they ARE people too…and I don’t think WE are. But that might just be my reporting from the Zero Room.

And in the end it is as much a toss-up as whether or not it is exactly the right time to shave one’s whiskers or cut one’s hair…an error in which could be disastrous beyond belief…if you believe that.

Additionally, the contents of a red candle slightly melted are unfortunately a poor alternative to strawberry preserves. Yet, if it is all that’s available…

I’m Thomas K…and I’m not.

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