I’ve made less last year than in any year of my life since I started working.

I made so much less that it’s laughable. No, literally, my tax preparer, who has been tending to my taxes for some 10 years now, actually laughed last night as he showed me the columns with their neatly declining numbers from left to right. And the most hilarious part?

I laughed with him.

So did the guy who shares his office. We laughed and laughed until I didn’t think we could laugh any more. And then I would make another crack about my long, slow slide into the poorhouse, or my astonishing way with a buck, or how glorious were these economic times in which we lived, and we would laugh some more.

Yeah, it was late and they’d been pulling 12 and 14 and 16-hour days for weeks now. Yeah, it was late and I’ve been working 7-day weeks of 10 and 12 and sometimes 14-hour days now. I know myself and these guys pretty well now, though, and at this point, I’d say we would have had ourselves almost as good a laugh at 10am, fully rested and freshly caffeinated. Stuff is just funny now that wasn’t before. I mean, sure, it’s scary, too, in a way, but in another way there’s a crazy kind of freedom that comes from things moving this fast and changing this unpredictably. Like a veil has been torn to reveal the absolute chaotic hugeness of the universe…or maybe the curtain pulled back to reveal there’s no Wizard of Oz at all, just a guy working a smoke machine with every last bit of energy, and frankly a bit relieved that the jig is up. It’s tiring, keeping up appearances.

Taxing, even.

Rest assured that I am well taken care of. Yes, my adjusted gross income is laughably low, but I’ve planned for it rather than having it suddenly and horrifically visited upon me as so many people have recently. (If you are on the pre-jump side of change, consider this yet another vote for getting your nut low and and your cushion big while the getting is get-able.) All around me I see blessings and opportunities and punch lines.

On this day where so many of us raise our fists and curse the heavens (or the previous administration, or the previous-previous one, or whatever scapegoat of your choosing), may you find a little something to laugh about.

And if you can’t? Feel free to laugh at me…


Image by Christina Snyder via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.


  1. I have found a lack of income to be oddly pleasant. While at the same time craving highly luxurious goods. I get endorphin rush looking at my online banking. Scheduling bills. Watching pennies. And I still want a rock crystal candlestick. Who said logical made sense?

  2. One of my favorite things about the Wizard of Oz is the revelation that everybody already had everything they needed to succeed: a heart, a brain, the nerve. They brought it all with them on that long trek down the yellow brick road. And so do we all.

  3. I love the graphic you chose to go with this article. I’m sure there are people who thought about what you “find” with your toilet paper. I immediately smiled, thinking how happy I am when I find the toilet paper!

    Recently when there was no toilet paper in my stall, I immediately assumed the person in the next stall would share which she did. (Thank goodness! She spared more than a square.)

    Just like the rest of life, it’s all about your perspective.

    It’s about looking for the solution, instead of the problem.

  4. I looked at my ageing sneakers today and felt ashamed. I can’t rush out and buy a replacement pair just yet. Not until a client pays my bill.

    Five years ago I didn’t work for myself but I could have bought a new pair of sneakers every week.

    I am happier now. Much.

Comments are closed.