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Berger’s Burg: Daydreaming and tax returns don’t mix

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Why does it seem like only 365 days ago that it was last done?Readers, I must confess: From February 1 (when I get my W-2s) through April 15 (when all returns should be forwarded), I'm a "kvetch" (a chronic complainer), a procrastinator (I wait until the final moment before undertaking the unpleasant task of filing) and a dreamer (1040s make my thoughts wander).This year, I finally intended to use my CPA cousin, Gerard, to prepare my taxes. Unfortunately, he moved to Florida last Tuesday and left me in the lurch.Why couldn't that @#$%^ wait until he completed my tax returns? Oh, woe is me. I hate doing my income taxes. What do I do now?"Stop complaining and procrastinating," Gloria said. "Get cracking.""@#$%^."So I began searching the file cabinets for my financial records, and midway through, I sat down for a little rest and relaxation. As if by design, my thoughts began wandering back to Feb. 3 in Phoenix, Ariz., when my Giants played the mighty New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. It was the fourth quarter and the Giants were behind 14-10 with less than a minute remaining. Eli Manning, the Giants' quarterback, stepped back to pass and immediately was surrounded by three Patriot behemoths. One grabbed Eli around Eli's waist, the second pulled Eli's shirt and the third went for Eli's unmentionable.It looked mighty bleak for Eli, but miraculously the QB managed to escape the deadly grasps of all three, ran to his right and lofted a long pass to David Tyree, the receiver, who was also in the midst of two Patriot defenders. David caught the ball with the two defenders hanging on to him. The football somehow lodged atop his helmet and David held on to it for dear life. The pass was completed and Eli had another opportunity to win the game.The ball was again snapped to Eli, who took one step forward and threw the ball toward Plexico Burress in the end zone. Time stood still as the crowd watched the spinning ball and held their breaths. As the ball neared the receiver-"Alex, stop daydreaming and start computing!""@#$%^."So I picked up a blank 1040 form and stared at it for a few minutes. My thoughts once more drifted. Now I recalled the time when, as a 118-pound, 17-year-old in the Air Force, I perpetuated one story too many about my "rough" upbringing on the mean streets of Manhattan's Lower East Side, where I survived by my fists alone. I convinced everyone I was the toughest kid in the squadron.I lived this charmed life until Isaac Powell, a former Golden Glove middleweight champion from Chicago, transferred into our unit. "Smitty," the unit's yenta, concocted a "dream" boxing contest between Isaac and me for the right to be called the best fighter.Gulp! I tried squelching such talk, but this time my golden tongue failed to cancel the planning of the bout. I couldn't back out lest I be exposed as a coward and shunned by all."Smitty" prepared the particulars for the match and sweat began pouring from my pores. "Smitty" returned and-"Alex, if you don't begin your tax return now, it will be late tomorrow."" @#$%^."I opened to the first page of "30 Ways to Save on Your Taxes" and immediately thought of writing a sequel: "60 Things to do While You Are in Jail."But my thoughts once again floated to the time when I had a blind date with Gloria. I showered, shampooed, shaved, shined my shoes and put on a suit for the occasion.I then drove up to the Bronx to pick her up. She was simply ravishing, and to impress her I picked out an expensive French restaurant in Times Square. The meal and Gloria were exquisite. When the check was presented to me, however, I discovered I left my money at home. I didn't own a credit card at the time.Gulp! When I told Gloria the bad news, she simply said, "It is lucky I brought my mad money," and paid the bill. I repaid her a week later and we were married six months later.Gloria came to scold me once again, but when I told her what I was dreaming of, she said, "Let's get a professional CPA to do our taxes."Now you know why I love Gloria.Contact Alex Berger at www.timesledger.com

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