Q appeared at our bedroom door as I was dressing.
Ah, is that Q, the former millionaire? I said. He had just returned from a visit with the accountant.
Yes, he said. Are you sitting down?
I was, with one stocking on and one stocking off. Q named a figure which we don't have to discuss here. Suffice it to say that I can remember an era in which a very nice house could have been bought for what we will owe Uncle Sam this year.
Ouch, I said. We have had our eye on a cruise among a few very lovely Greek islands in the fall; I seemed to see them receding into the distance, just like the Scandinavia-to-St.-Petersburg cruise did when we both needed dental work this spring. Ah, well. Easy come, easy go.
We may be able to get it down a little -- I will comb the files for some more deductions. But not a lot. Wouldn't you know: just when I'd gotten the savings account almost to where we need it to be after the dentist had done his worst! But this is just how it is: find a little money and something will come up that requires it.
But we can't complain. The unexpected things inconvenience us slightly, but they don't destroy us. This is a great blessing. Most people in the world have such hard lives, and ours is so easy. Half the world is hungry. A billion people don't own a pair of shoes, and we each have several. I will find a way to juggle a large tax bill -- maybe we'll take a cruise to Staten Island, which you can do for nothing from lower Manhattan, instead of to the Greek islands, which cost considerably more. We'll manage and we won't whine about it. It's a privilege to pay taxes, to share the cost of life together. This essay is the closest thing to a whine you're going to hear from us, and it's over now.