A Homeless Man Did My Taxes

15 Apr



And I did exactly that.  I considered my past math grades and opted for complete and total irresponsibility.  It doesn’t make me proud to admit this.  My only excuse is that is was the late 90’s and I was still in my 20’s.  A very wise person once told me, “You can screw up all you want in your 20’s.  Once you hit 30, there’s no more excuses.”  That meant I was still covered under the umbrella of acceptable unacceptable adult decisions.

You know those stories or movies that start out with, “It was a dark and stormy night”……cue thunder and lightening effects.  That’s exactly the type of intro that suits the April 15th tax deadline I’m speaking of.  I’d refer to the exact year, but alas….I cannot recall.  The main post office looked like a rave without the mollys.  People were sweating with crazed faces and for a split second I started to have a good time.  Until I remembered that I hadn’t even begun to do my taxes.  I tried to look non-chalant while in panic mode.  Like I was there to buy a stamp or something.  Then I saw him.

He was standing in a corner with his arms crossed watching the chaos with a grin on his face.  A large camping backpack that looked to be everything the man owned sat on the floor at his feet.  I try to avoid making eye contact with most people.  I find that when I do, I’m often asked to run an errand or pay a bill.  So it was quite by accident when the man and I locked eyes.  Not in the romantic sense.  More like when a krill makes eye contact with a whale.  I saw him start to saunter my way and realized I’d quite literally backed myself into a corner and he knew it.

“Here to file your taxes?”  Oh, he was good.

“No.  Well, I am.  After I finish doing them.”  I waved my W2 around in the air.

His eyebrows slightly raised and it was obvious that this wasn’t the saddest case of adult negligence he’d seen before.

“You want me to take a look at them for you?”

Now.  The normal response to a homeless man asking to take a peep at your financials would be to gasp in horror and back away quickly.  Not me.  I tossed him my W2 like a hot potato, totally agreeing to a possible future identity theft.  He motioned for me to follow him to the rack ‘o forms where he commenced to grabbing what I hoped to be the appropriate paperwork.  He motioned again for me to follow him only this time he was headed outside.  I’ve learned to trust my primitive Fight or Flight response and I was completely at ease as I followed him like an ignorant child behind the Pied Piper.

“I figured it’d be quieter out here.  You look like crowds make you nervous.”


He fished a pencil out of his pocket and sat on the curb.  It was obvious he knew exactly what he was doing.  After about 15 minutes it was even more obvious he had found a way to stick it to the man.  He was done in less than an hour.

“So that’s it?  We’re done?”
“We’re done.”

By that time the crowd had thinned and only the desperate remained.  I mooched a couple of stamps and dropped the whole experience into the chute marked “PLACE COMPLETED TAX FORMS HERE”.

A wave of relief washed over me and I turned to thank the man who had saved me from a potential audit and possible jail time.  But dude was gone.  Just like that.  About a month later I got the largest tax return I’d ever received.  I choose to believe everything was legit.  I often wonder about that man.  His intelligence was obvious and there was no doubt an interesting story behind his choice to wander in lieu of setting down roots.  I wonder if he thinks of me around this time of year?  That ignorant girl with blind faith and wicked abandon.  I think we’d totally be good friends.

2 Responses to “A Homeless Man Did My Taxes”

  1. Michael Cargill April 16, 2015 at 3:13 am #

    This is a fantastic story that was well told, so I don’t care if it’s true or not.

    How you holding up these days, April?


    • April Trice April 16, 2015 at 11:31 am #

      Dude, it was totally true! I’ve been swamped with end of the school year junk for Cali. Still reading your book, btw….about 3/4 of the way thru it. I haven’t forgotten! I plan on catching up on a whole bunch ‘o stuff after she’s out on the 15th of next month.


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