One of the downfalls of living in a technologically advanced society is that nobody knows how to do anything anymore.

One of the downfalls of living in a technologically advanced society is that nobody knows how to do anything anymore.

Not me, pal.

I know how to make my own bread, beer and barbecue sauce. I can fix the toilet and patch tires on the car. I’m not bragging; I’m just ready for the inevitable space alien apocalypse. Who wants to live through the end of the world without at least beer and sandwiches?

But how many people know how to do things for themselves when the store is just five minutes away? Not many, and this will eventually lead to our doom.

If “Star Trek” has taught us anything, it’s that every society will get to the point its people forget how to fix the machines, which becomes really inconvenient when we’re out of hot water.

That’s why, when my wife and I decided to do our own taxes this year, it almost killed us.

The idea made sense at the time. Why give a “tax preparer” between $129 and $229 (depending on how much we itemize, whatever that means) when they’re just going to do addition? Heck, we can do our own taxes using a $50 computer program.

The experience started out fine.

Name: Samuel Jason Offutt.

“This is going to be easy,” I said to my wife, who sat next to me. She was in charge of the piles and piles of tax forms stamped with numbers I understood as well as general relativity.

“Change my name to Hotty McHotHot,” she said, smiling.

Great, doing our own taxes wasn’t only going to be cheap and easy, it was going to be fun.

“Can we claim the Girl twice?” my wife asked about our preschooler.

I shrugged. “Well, half the time she thinks she’s a Chihuahua puppy named Hippy Rose Wonderful*, so, I think we can.”

Our tax preparation banter devolved from that to dialogue from a prison movie where no one gets out alive.

“I need the 1099-MISC forms,” I said.

“I already gave them to you.”

“No you didn’t.”

“Did.”

“Didn’t.”

“Did.”

“Then where are they?”

“You sat your drink on them.”

I looked at my glass. “Oh, yeah.”

Much like a school career must be to a first grader, this tax preparation process didn’t seem to have an end. Each window we finished was followed by another, many telling us we filled out the previous window so poorly the police were probably already on their way.

“What’s Roth Ira?” I asked, a trickle of sweat starting to run down my throbbing temple. “Wasn’t she a Jedi knight from ‘Star Wars: Episode II’?”

My wife shook her head. “Uh, no.”

“A type of cheese?”

“No.”

“Something I won’t understand?”

She nodded.

At some point we finished and I realized the IRS probably doesn’t audit people who try to cheat on their taxes, they audit people who simply stop caring.

I hit “send” on the electronic file page, praying the aliens would take over before tax season next year.



*For the record, this was part of our actual conversation. And yes, the Girl named herself.