For most people I know, with myself included in that figure so as to artificially inflate it a teensy bit, it’s getting to be tax season. This largely means digging up any and every piece of paper that might, oh please dear god, add a little bit more to that oh-so-very-lovely tax return (or, in my case from last year, reminding the government I somehow won $1,000 on a scratch-off lottery ticket, which is so going to bite me in the ass).
Fair Warning brand Disclaimer: this post will get a little on the rantier side of things, as it is well-known by those who are familiar with me that money-related stress is my least favorite kind of stress. Waking up to an obvious, straight-from-90’s-era-horror-movies standing in my bedroom is a pretty close second. The point is there are many, many other web sites on the internet, and if you’re not a fan of money-related things, or rants, you may want to go elsewhere. Then come back here for the other posts, obviously.
So anyway, I’m a huge fan of bitching about money. It’s something most people want more of, nobody ever seems to have enough of, and not very many people are willing to part with unless they’re damn sure it’s going to something good (read as “it’s got to be for personal gain through material possessions, mostly”). There’s also a whole lot of people who are very good, apparently, at saying how everyone else should use their money for whatever reason (like, say, I don’t know…politicians, for an example). I’m not an expert with money, either, nor am I an expert with math, numbers, or people. I am pretty good at opinions, however, since I’ve been giving mine freely since as long as I can remember. As an important aside before I continue, however, I would like to point out to any eccentric billionaires who happen to find themselves perusing my blog that I am always willing to accept large donations to the Phil Likes Large Sums of Untaxed Cash Even Though He’ll Never, Ever Get Such Things fund.
Here’s what we do: set up a Hunger Games-style selecting process by which so many people are selected to participate in a game show for their tax returns. I’m going to pause for a moment to note most of the people who know me even a little bit probably expected me to suggest we start killing people, but that’s totally not where I was going with this and if you thought that you should feel bad (but accept I’d probably have gone there under other circumstances, so you were essentially right). Each player goes individually, which means television networks get to benefit from it lasting a good while and advertising agencies can give viewers ALL the commercials, and completes some sort of task or another (I never said it was a complete idea, and I’m really loving parenthetical asides in this post so I’m sort of sorry for that but not really).
Now for the important bits, though. The bits that will really bring in viewers. Each contestant is given a choice at the end of their run on the show. They can either accept their tax return, as is, no questions asked, or they can pick from one of three mystery prizes behind a door. The prizes would range anywhere from various denominations of cash to amazing vacation getaways. What? That’s boring, you say? Because the flip-side to that is there would also be rather unfortunate mystery prizes. Is it a brand new Ford Mustang behind curtain number three? Nope. Sorry, Timmy or Tammy Everyperson, it looks like you just forfeited your tax return for a big old bag of beef jerky. The money players would have gotten in these situations could go to, say, charities of their choice. Or the national deficit, I guess. Whatever. And, because I’m not an entirely horrible person all of the time, everyone would still get to leave with a little bit of money because, let’s face it, nobody really ever wants to live solely off of ramen noodles boiled in their bitter tears (even if it’s a necessary evil sometimes*).
Ultimately, anything that makes money less horrifying and misery-inducing would be pretty cool by my standards, but I really just thinking about the chance to watch, say, a high-paid politician or some crazy-as-all-hell oil baron risk big and end up with something like a boxful of deep-fried cow hearts or something.
*Spicy Pork cooked in vintage Self-Loathing-filled English Major Tears are a personal favorite of mine, as it was one-stop shopping.