One of this continent's great and glorious institutions, the Australian Taxation Office, recently informed me that I owe the nation a hefty lump of mine filthy lucre. Here, let me not overstate the lumpeness or filth, or, indeed, lucrativity, of my filthy lucre, which is not such that I own any or all of: a house, motorised transport, a food processor. I like to think that, were my owings on account of some good and right tax (like an income-indexed income tax), I would have greeted this correspondence from the Australian Taxation Office with a little leap, a quiet joy, the thought that I too could give something back to the nation at whose teat I've suckled. But nay, my owings are on account of a wicked and perverse tax, and even though my filthy lucre will dribble into the same, one, great, transcendent treasury, I will not feel spiritually cleansed by the dribbling. I will feel like a lettuce leaf nibbled round the edges by slugs. I will briefly contemplate purchasing private health insurance so as to avoid paying the wicked and perverse tax, even though I visit a doctor approximately once every two years, and then I will remember that the only reason this tax is wicked and perverse is because it tempts us to buy private health insurance and so deprive the state of the money that the wicked and perverse tax extracts from us.
Here is how I will console myself:
1. I will think about the words "thrift" and "penury". These are two of my favourite words. If my son, Witlof, should ever acquire siblings, I will call them Thrift and Penury.
2. I will find the button that fell off my trousers in the wash. I will do this by looking in the washing machine. Then I will sew it back on again.
3. I will read this article about how schools in Amerikay were forced by underfunding to cut the past tense from their language programs and I will be glad that I am possibly funding antipodean language programs, even if via a wicked and perverse tax instead of via a good and right tax.
4. I will remind myself that many people who do not own food processors lead full and happy lives.
5. I will receive my telephone bill and it will tell me that I am in credit (this is my plan, anyway).
6. I will loudly deplore the wicked and perverse tax, while simultaneously preaching the merits of the income-indexed income tax, and I will say things like "The tax bracket into which I fall should be taxed at a higher rate, but the wicked and perverse tax should be abolished", which I may come to regret later.
7. I will eat marrows, ostentatiously, perhaps for lunch at work.