I like to arrange things as I goddamn please. Take my bookcase for example. I arrange the books the way I like. I put things in their place. I decide what is to be done.
The Dewey decimal system is helpful. But some books defy classification. Do Dr. Jung and his many followers, for example, belong in science or religion? Tell me that, Mr. Dewey! Should Jung rest by Dr. Freud dreaming of repressed homoerotic love? Or should he cavort with Tarot cards, spouting mystic philosophy about archetypes? Or maybe he belongs among artistes?
Arranging is dangerous. One can never get it quite right. The world is stubborn like that. Nothing, they say, is reliable but death and taxes. So they say. But I talk with the dead all the time. They don’t stay dead, and if you think they do, well, I’m sorry. You must be lonely.
And let me tell you a story about taxes.
This year, I decided to hire an accountant. I could afford it, so I figured, “why torture myself?” I’ll give the job to a professional. Easy peasy.
So I found a CPA with good YELP reviews, who runs his business out of his garage which is just up the street from me. What could go wrong?
I’ll tell you what could go wrong. The man’s a nut case.
Our first visit went okay. He gave me good advice about deductions. I was missing a few necessary details, so we scheduled a second appointment.
Easy right? Ha! When I showed up weeks later, all hell broke loose. I don’t like it when things break loose. I am reliable, but this tax guy, I mean, hoo boy.
I sat down and he handed me an envelope saying, “Well, there you go.”
“Great,” I said. Then I opened my folder of odds and ends. “We just have to clear up a few little pieces.”
His face flushed like a tomato and he leaned into me across the table, pounding his fist on it.
“I’m done, I told you!” he boomed. “Take your envelope and get the hell out of here.”
“But you were going to finish off these….”
“Who the hell do you think you are? This is my busiest time of year, and I’m done with you. You’re fired! Get the hell out! I don’t need this fucking stress!”
His wife sat watching from a corner, peering at me with contempt.
I could see I’d get no help there. I tried to stay calm. No point in escalating, right? I had to consider: was this guy really dangerous? Would he pull a gun out of a drawer? It seemed possible. I considered a quick exit. Perhaps I could calm him down? I reached for the envelope he had tossed on the table.
“What do you think you’re doing?” he yelled. “I said you’re fired. Just get out of here.”
“But, I’ve paid for this,” I pointed out. He grabbed the envelope.
“Well, you’re not getting it. I’ll give you your money back. You can go to H&R Block. See how they treat you!”
“But, you had me sign a power of attorney?”
“No, I didn’t.”
At this point, I realized I had stumbled into a Monty Python routine. Specifically, “The Argument Clinic.”
You see, I thought I was consulting an accountant but I had stumbled into an absurdist Vaudeville skit that wasn’t funny but terrifying. Nothing stays in its place. Who expects to find out their accountant is a crazed clown?
By the time I left, the police had been called, his wife had flung three hundred dollar bills at my feet, and I had retreated backwards unwilling to take my eyes off the blasted buffoon.
So much for arranging things.
You see my point, right?