My honorary nephew Noah is a born capitalist. His mother is a CPA and his father is an economist, so it is perhaps to be expected that he would take to calculation from an early age. He’d learned his multiplication tables by age 4 (a feat I didn’t manage myself until age 10), but has lately taken to attempting (at just shy of age 6) to attempting to charge his parents for such amenities as the morning paper—a sign on his bedroom door proclaims that it was 50 cents, but can be had for the amazing sale price of only 25 cents…per page. He has also, his mother tells me, taken to taxing his parents a dollar a day. They explained to him that in exchange for taxes, the government provides services: “What service are you going to provide, Noah?” He thought a moment and responded, “It’s a secret service.”
My friend Leah, Noah’s mother, is a saint. She’s currently struggling with my 2010 taxes, which are quintuply complicated by the fact that not only have I earned dribs and drabs of income from four or so sources as an independent contractor, I also changed my residency to VA from GA last year. I still will probably be below the federal poverty line when all is said and done. But Lord willing, I’ll have my dissertation done by December, and then I can cast about for more lucrative employment.