Happier not knowing

IT ALL STARTED WHEN I DECIDED to apply my makeup this morning. This normally takes 5-7 minutes, tops, but I looked in the bathroom mirror and thought to myself, self, you have a few extra minutes here. Why don't you pay some attention to that overgrowth formerly known as your eyebrows?

Led-wall-mounted-magnifying-mirrorThe light isn't great by my bathroom mirror, so to get a better view, I propped a magnifying mirror on my window ledge, thinking that natural light would make this chore easier.

WOW! Each individual hair seemed as large as a tree stalk. This was helpful for the task at hand. I plucked and plucked and tweezed and tugged, making sure to eradicate my monobrow get every last rogue hair, even that stray one that was closer to my forehead than my brow.

The job done, I further inspected my face. With this mirror, I could also see so much more.  Too much.  It was frightening. First of all, what are those tiny brown spots around my eyes? Twenty years ago I'd have shrugged them off as freckles, but these aren't that.  They are new.  So are the broken blood vessels around my nose. Which coordinate nicely with a couple of small red spots in that vicinity. And – GAH! – I have a moustache! Why didn't you people TELL ME??!

Clearly, I had work to do. I pulled out my Sally Hansen home wax strip kit and attacked the moustache. YANK! OUCH! YANK! OUCH!! YANK! OUUUUCH!!! DAMMIT! After inflicting as much pain on myself as I could stand, I looked in the magnifying mirror, which told the sad truth: I'd only managed to remove about half of the hairs. Some things are better left to professionals, I told myself, and made a mental note to schedule an appointment.

While inspecting the 'stache, I noticed that the pores on my nose are the size of moon craters! So I whipped out a Biore strip and as I type this, it's affixed to my nose, transforming into paper mache, at which point I can peel it off, hopefully leaving my epidermis mostly intact.

I'm not even going to talk about the wrinkles. I don't mind them so much; I'm often told I look younger than I am, and not just because I have the same sense of humor as a 14 year old boy. Maybe it's my effective and strategic application of stage makeup;  more likely, it's good genes and years of obsessive sunscreen usage. (Thanks, Mom!)  But that's OK because there is a trove of other blemishes and flaws that the magnifying mirror revealed.

Despite my horrifying discovery this morning, I take comfort in knowing that the flaws revealed by the mirror will not be visible to most people my age because we are all starting to have vision issues, too. Either we can't read and we have to have magnifying classes, or we can't see far away and we need glasses to drive. I figure this bodes well, for as many flaws as my face has, I will appear to my peers as if photographed through gauze with gentle back-lighting.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to… wait, where was I? Oh, yes, makeup. I need to apply my makeup.

Filed under: Ignorance is bliss, happier not knowing, born in the sixties, the price of vanity, why didn't you tell me?

Human Resources, Illustrated

ThERE IS THIS FUNNY MEME going around on The Facebook. It characterizes professions from different points of view.  Take the writer:

The writer

Hilarious! I have to credit my pal Amy, because she posted it on her Facebook page, though I don't know if she created it or reposted it. (If it's yours, leave a comment, I'm happy to give credit where credit is due.)

Also hilarious was the Professors version! I found it on a friend's page, which linked back to this guy, so credit goes to him as OP, if not creator:

Professors
There are many of these flying around right now, but I didn't see any that illustrated my profession: Human Resources. So I made my own. Feel free to share, just link back to my blog if you do.

HR

So very taxing

IT'S TAX SEASON, and again this year, I'm using a popular web-based tax preparation program. As I was estimating the damage entering our info today, I decided to take advantage of their on-line community to search questions and answers posted by other users to  see if I could clarify something I found a little bit confusing.

IrsHomepageLogo

I know what you're thinking – it's redundant to say "taxes" and "confusing" in the same sentence! But you know what they say – misery loves company – and there were plenty of equally confused citizens seeking clarity in the Q&A message board.  Luckily, my question was straightforward and I was able to confirm my hunch. But as I browsed, another question caught my eye: 

CAN I CLAIM MY BOYFRIEND THAT DIDNT WORK ALL YEAR

Maybe it's just me, but that question seems to be oozing with lots more than a simple inquiry about a potential tax deduction. I sense frustration with a note of accusation. Impatience. One informed citizen weighed in (copied verbatim, typos and all):

If he meets the following criterea he can be claimed as a dependent 

The person must:

1) Not be the taxpayer’s or anyone else’s qualifying child. 

2) Either (a) live with the taxpayer all year as a member of his household or (b) be related to the taxpayer.

3) Have gross income less than $3,650.

The taxpayer must provide more than half of the person’s total support for the year.

Now, a scene is developing inside my head. A skinny woman with long, stringy hair sits on a barstool in a cramped apartment, frantically typing her question into her old laptop which is perched atop the paper-strewn breakfast bar. Her back is to the living room, where her boyfriend is sitting on the sofa. Again. He's wearing sweats and an old black "Motley Crue" T-shirt, has holes in his unmatched socks, is swilling cheap beer from a 40-ounce can, his feet propped on a black laquered coffee table. With his big toe, he nudges aside a crumpled, empty bag of Combos, the better to view whatever's on the tube. Crumbs and a lone, uneaten Combo spill onto the table.

"AHA!" She yells.

Boyfriend belches. "KEEP IT DOWN," he growls. "I can't hear the teevee."

"THIS IS IMPORTANT!" she snarls back. "It says right here, you ARE good for something – I can take a tax deduction for you NOT WORKING!"

With this scene in my mind, I continued reading more of the responses to the question, imagining the reaction of my fictional taxpayer:

yes u can if u was takin care of him all year and if he is under 22

"I WAS takin' care of him," the lady thinks to herself. "But he's…24. Crap." 

I claim my boyfriend and he is over 22. As long as he fits the criteria mentioned, he qualifies as a dependent.

"Well there you go!, she thinks. "Cha-CHING!" She reads on:

what if that boyfriend is 28 years old as of dec 31, 2010, has state medical assistance, and food stamps?

"WOW, now there's a helluva scenario," she thinks. "What if…?"

"….The taxpayer must provide more than half of the person’s total support for the year" in reference to claiming a boyfriend as a dependent, what paperwork exactly is needed to support this?

"Right – how do you PROVE it?"

Can i be claimed by my bf if i meet all those criteria but made $4200 myself and he helped support my two children?

"Well, at least he helped you with the kids, sister."

What if I claim him and he owes money for student loans, will they take my tax return????

"What do his student loans have to do with it?"

i have a boyfriend thats in jail that i have been supporting for about 3 years now can i claim him

"WHOA," she thinks. "At least I'm not supporting a convict! That lady's got it BAD!"

She exits out of the message board and enters the information to claim her boyfriend as a dependent, turning her running total into a modest tax refund. "Maybe this year will be better," she thinks as she closes her laptop. She's feeling a little bit better about things; those comments on the message board helped. After all, misery loves company.