Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Income tax blues

At the Cute Little Library we had a volunteer who helped people with their income tax.  Theoretically the service was for low income people or seniors, but it was difficult to say no once people sat in front of you with their private papers spread in front of them, or so Mr Evans, the luckless volunteer, told me.  He did say that he really did not like to do taxes for people who made more money than he did, but he helped everybody he could.

Since no good deed goes unpunished, we had lots of complaints for and about poor Mr Evans.  One old lady told him exactly how much refund she wanted and was quite put out when he refused to guarantee results.  Several seniors complained that their neighbors got larger refunds than they did.   And of course, other patrons weighed in with complaints that Mr Evans and his clients made too much noise and were preventing them from using the library in peace.

One of our more unhinged patrons considered Mr Evans the devil's spawn and held up a giant crucifix when she was in his vicinity to ward off his evil influence.

But Mr Evans was at least a volunteer and knew what he was in for.  The rest of us were just trying to do our jobs and did not want to give tax advice nor were we qualified to do so. Look at it this way:  if you were an expert on personal finance, would you take a low-paying job at the public library? 


Anonymous said...

My local public library branch does not have a volunteer to help with taxes, only two tables filled with tax forms - and still the noise and distraction doubles during tax time. You library had exceptional civic spirit (and I feel for poor Mr. be considered a devil's spawn for helping people to escape the Arm of Satanic IRS!)

I started reading Kingsley Amis' That uncertain feeling, where protagonist is a librarian in a small Welsh town in 1954. Despite exotic names and the lost post-war world (his superior is called Ieuan, f.i.) the air is very familiar. Have you read it?

miriam said...

Tat: Yes, I read That Uncertain Feeling many years ago. Not as good as Lucky Jim, though, as I remember it.

Anonymous said...

Took out Lucky Jim; maybe this one will be up to its reputaiton

miriam said...

I have very fond memories of Lucky Jim. If you like it, you might like Anglo Saxon Attitudes by Angus Wilson.

Anonymous said...

I also attempted to read his Russian Girl, thinking "maybe in his older years Amis was able to shift his attention onto his own story and characters" - but no, same posturing, same conscious vain games with stylistic ornament. all his characters are unpleasant, including the main one and his portrayal of Russian expats is beyond ridiculous - he doesn't understand them at all, the caricatures he paints speak of himself rather than of them.

In a meanwhile I found a refuge in wonderful Evelyn Waugh (enjoying his Collected Stories at the moment) and delightful Barbara Pym.

miriam said...

I think in his later years Amis was just phoning it in.

Barbara Pym and Evelyn Waugh are great. I do not recommend Brideshead Revisited, though.