After hearing a sermon on Psalm 52:3-4 (lies and deceit), a man wrote the IRS, “I can’t sleep knowing that I have cheated on my income tax. Enclosed is a check for $150. If I still can’t sleep, I’ll send the rest.”
Fifth Third Bank? I don’t think you understand how to number things, which is something I generally look for in a bank.
@RowdyBowden (derek lawler)
A last-minute filer walked into our state income tax office and handed me his returns. Just as he did, a peal of laughter could be heard in another room. Glaring at me, he grumbled, “What are they doing back there, counting the money?”
William Umberson, San Diego, California
Stoop sale this Sunday, 12 to 4 p.m. Throwing all my crap in the garbage this Sunday, 4:15 p.m.
Ritch Duncan @ritchied
Here are the best tried-and-failed excuses British businesses gave for not paying their taxes on time.
• My pet goldfish died. —Self-employed builder
• Our business doesn’t really do anything. —Financial services firm
• I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns. —Accountant
Source: HM Revenue & Customs
I was in small-claims court when I listened in on the case of a woman who held a good job but still had trouble paying her bills on time. “Can’t you live within your income?” asked the judge.
“No, Your Honor,” she said. “It’s all I can do to live within my credit.”
My friend has a bad habit of overdrawing her bank account. One day before we went shopping, I complained about my lack of funds and lamented, “Guess I’ll use plastic.”
Unconcerned, she whipped out her checkbook: “I’m using rubber.”
No one likes coughing up rent. But at least these tenants gave landlords creative reasons for avoiding it.
"With my daughter’s graduation, our new boat, and our trip to Europe this year, we’re a little strapped."
"I’m getting real tired of paying this rent every month! You’ll have to wait a few more days."
"We’re a little short right now. But don’t worry—we’re getting a refund on my wife’s tattoo. The artist messed it up, and we’re getting back most of the bucks!"
"I didn’t pay the rent because I’m saving up to move."
"It’s your fault the check bounced. Why didn’t you tell me you were going to run to the bank the very same day!"
A local charity had never received a donation from the town’s banker, so the director made a phone call.
“Our records show you make $500,000 a year, yet you haven’t given a penny to charity,” the director began. “Wouldn’t you like to help the community?”
The banker replied, “Did your research show that my mother is ill, with extremely expensive medical bills?”
“Um, no,” mumbled the director.
“Or that my brother is blind and unemployed? Or that my sister’s husband died, leaving her broke with four kids?”
“I … I … I had no idea.”
“So,” said the banker, “if I don’t give them any money, why would I give any to you?”
The teenager lost a contact lens while playing basketball in his driveway. After a brief, fruitless search, he gave up. His mother took up the cause and within minutes found the lens.
"How did you do that?" he asked.
"We weren’t looking for the same thing," she explained. "You were looking for a small piece of plastic. I was looking for $150."
To publicize colon cancer screenings, an Idaho doctor suggested that a reminder be included in every tax notice. The idea was nixed. "Recommending a colonoscopy in the same envelope as the tax notice may be considered ironic," said the county treasurer.
I took four tires to a friend’s garage sale and was asking $30 apiece. I needed to leave for a few minutes, so I asked him to watch them for me.
"Sure," he said, "but if someone offers less, how low are you willing to go?"
"Try for more, but I will accept $15," I said, and left.
When I returned, my tires were gone. "How much did you get for them?" I asked excitedly.
"Fifteen dollars each."
"Who bought them?"
A Brooklyn café is charging $12 for a cup of Ethiopian coffee. The drink doesn’t have a name, so The Week asked its readers to do the honors.
Café au Laitaway
During an antiharassment seminar at work, I asked, "What’s the difference between harassment and good-natured teasing?" A co-worker shouted, "A million dollars."
From our local TV news station, this undeniably true travel suggestion: "Next up, ten money-saving tips for your trip to Hawaii. Don’t go away!"
Before my son could start going on job interviews, he needed to dress the part. That, he decided, required a $500 suit.
"What!?" I answered, gagging at the price tag. "I’ve bought cars for $500!"
"That’s why I want the $500 suit," he said. "So I don’t have to drive $500 cars."
If your name is on the building, you’re rich; if your name is on your desk, you’re middle-class; if your name is on your shirt, you’re poor.
I received a letter saying I would not be given the American Express credit card I’d requested because my income wasn’t substantial enough. Oddly enough, I work for American Express.
My husband is—how should I put this—cheap, once going so far as to reuse the freezer bags our grown daughter Molly left behind after a visit. Needless to say, it gave me a start when, looking through the freezer, I found packages labeled steak, chicken breast, and Molly.
A guy in a Kia pulls up next to a Rolls-Royce at a red light and asks, "Hey, is your car Bluetooth enabled?" The Rolls owner nods.
"So is mine. Got Wi-Fi?" The Rolls owner nods again.
"Me too. What about a double bed?"
"No. Do you?" asks the Rolls guy.
The Kia owner peers out. "You got me out of the shower to tell me that?!"
With airlines adding fees to fees, The Week magazine asked its readers to predict the next surcharge they’ll levy for something previously free.
1. In the unlikely event of loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down. To start the flow of oxygen, simply insert your credit card …
2. $100 On-Time Departure Fee; $25 Delay Complaint Fee.
3. View seating (formerly window seats), $10; Access seating (formerly aisle seats), $10 $20 to use roll-away stairs to enter or exit the aircraft in lieu of no-charge rope-ladder alternative.
4. $9 fee for bumping your head on the overhead bin as you take your seat; $3 additional penalty for looking up at the bin after you bump into it.
To get his mind off his losing streak at the racetrack, I took my friend horseback riding. Being a novice, he freaked when his mount took off.
"How do I stop?" he yelled.
"Bet on it!" I hollered back.
If you are truly serious about preparing your child for the future, don’t teach him to subtract—teach him to deduct.
A devastated-looking man knocks on the door of a woman known for her charity.
"Please, ma’am," he says when she opens up, "can you help this poor, tragic family down the block? The father just lost his job, and his wife is too ill to work. They’re about to be turned out into the cold streets unless someone can pay their rent."
"That’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard in my life!" says the woman. "May I ask who you are?"
Driving back from Vermont, I stopped at a vegetable stand. It was deserted except for a sleeping German shepherd. I stepped over the dog, helped myself to some corn, then opened the cashbox to pay. Taped to the inside of the lid was this note: "The dog can count."
A millionaire, a hard hat, and a drunk are at a bar. When they get their beers, they notice a fly in each mug. The millionaire politely asks the bartender for another beer, then proceeds to sip it. The hard hat spills out just enough to get rid of the fly and quaffs the rest. It’s now the drunk’s turn. He sticks his hand into the beer, grabs the fly by the wings, and shouts, "Spit it out! Spit it out!"
When he blew a wad of money at my blackjack table in the casino, a customer stood up and yelled, "How do you lose $200 at a $2 table?!" Before I could speak, another customer replied, "Patience."
During a visit to our friend’s home in Canada, we were feted with a wonderful breakfast. But my six-year-old daughter was not impressed.
"Your pancakes are smaller than my mom’s," she told him.
He replied, "That’s because of the exchange rate."
One day at a local café, a woman suddenly called out, "My daughter’s choking! She swallowed a nickel! Please, anyone, help!"
Immediately a man at a nearby table rushed up to her and said he was experienced in these situations. He calmly stepped over to the girl, then with no look of concern, wrapped his arms around her and squeezed. Out popped the nickel.
The man returned to his table as if nothing had happened.
"Thank you!" the mother cried. "Tell me, are you a doctor?"
"No," the man replied. "I work for the IRS."
We were eating at one of the trendier restaurants in town when my friend pointed to the menu and told the waitress, "I’ll have the 24."
"Uh, Jim," I whispered, "that’s the price, not the meal number."
"Oh," he said. "Then give me the 12."
I’ve never understood the concept of the gift certificate, because for the same 50 bucks, my friend could’ve gotten me 50 bucks.
Visiting a college campus, the prospective student spots a building called Hemingway Hall. "That’s nice," he says, "a building named for Ernest Hemingway."
"Actually," says the tour guide, "it’s named for Joshua Hemingway."
"Was he a writer?" the student asks.
"Yes. He wrote a big check."
After cashing a check at the bank, the woman in front of me stood staring at her money. "Did I give you enough back?" asked the teller. "Yes," she said. "But barely."
The pastor decides to use one rich parishioner to set an example. "John," he says, "you’re a successful businessman; surely you could contribute more to the building fund."
John replies, "But my mother is in a nursing home, my daughter just lost her job, and my son is starting college … If I can say no to them, I can say no to you too."
Lying on his deathbed, the rich, miserly old man calls to his long-suffering wife. "I want to take all my money with me," he tells her. "So promise me you’ll put it in the casket."
After the man dies, his widow attends the memorial service with her best friend. Just before the undertaker closes the coffin, she places a small metal box inside.
Her friend looks at her in horror. "Surely," she says, "you didn’t put the money in there."
"I did promise him I would," the widow answers. "So I got it all together, deposited every penny in my account, and wrote him a check. If he can cash it, he can spend it."
I didn’t realize you were some kind of nut!
Robin’ you! So hand over your money!
Freelance newspaper writers don’t get nearly as much attention as writers with regular bylines. So I was delighted when I finally got some notice. It was at the bank, and I was depositing a stack of checks.
"Wow," said the teller, reading off the names of publishers from the tops of the checks. "You must deliver a lot of papers."
On a billboard ad for a safe company:
"If your stuff is stolen, it’s not our vault."
My husband, an attorney, is frequently consulted by clients who, after learning what the cost of legal services will be, decide to do without his aid. Recently the elderly minister of a small, struggling church came in with a legal problem.
After patiently listening to an explanation of my husband’s fees, he left the office with a prudent: "Thank you, sir, but I believe I’ll just pray this one through."
I requested identification from a department-store customer who had just written a personal check for her purchase. After fumbling through her purse, she presented me with what she said was the only thing that bore both her name and address.
It was a notice of insufficient funds from her bank.
Dear IRS: I’m sending you this money because I cheated on my income tax and my conscience has been bothering me. If it doesn’t stop, I’ll send you the rest.
Pulling into my service station 45 minutes late one morning, I shouted to the customers, "I’ll turn the pumps on right away!" What I didn’t know was that the night crew had left them on all night. By the time I got to the office, most of the cars had filled up and driven off. Only one customer stayed to pay. My heart sank. Then the customer pulled a wad of cash from his pocket and handed it to me.
"We kept passing the money to the last guy," he said. "We figured you’d get here sooner or later."