Math doesn’t add up for me. I took an algebra test in high school once and couldn’t answer a single question beyond my name.
Math doesn’t add up for me.
I took an algebra test in high school once and couldn’t answer a single question beyond my name.
Though I did get that right.
But maybe that’s why I’m unable to read the Form 1040 instructions every year at tax time without lapsing into a hallucinatory state.
Most people see the carefully scripted worksheet instructions, I see something more like the following:
Before you begin
· Have a bite to eat, you look too thin
· And sit up straight, this is important
· $5,400 if single or married filing jointly
· $6,800 if you’re seeing someone but are not ready to commit
· $9,600 if you just got out of a relationship with someone who wasn’t supportive enough
2) Are you filing Schedule Z?
· Yes, I think filing Schedule Z would be cool
· No, I think filing stuff is demeaning
· Maybe, let me get back to you
3) Enter the smaller of line 12 or 13. If they’re the same, then enter the one that seems less sure of itself.
4) Subtract line 4 from line 5, then add line 4 to line 5, then multiply the result by .053.
5) Multiply line 8 by .053. We love .053.
6) Figure the tax amount on line 14. If it’s less than $100,000, go to the Tax Table. If it’s more than $100,000, use the Tax Computation Worksheet. If it’s way more than $100,000, you’ve hired someone to do this and you’re not reading these instructions.
7) Enter the figure from Form 1040, line 33 on line 42. If there is no figure on Form 1040, line 33, then hurry up and put one in. The multiply it by .053.
8) Add lines 11, 12, and 14. Subtract line 7 from the result, and then multiply the figure by .053.
9) Calculate Pi. Then multiply the figure by .053. Enter the result on line 48, the one with lots of extra space. Multiply the figure by .053 again. And quit muttering under your breath. We do too have a reason for using that esoteric multiple, one way beyond the ken of someone who can’t answer a single question on a high school algebra test. Yeah, we know about that. Now, add lines 4, 6, 10, and 12 …
Frank Mulligan is an editor in GateHouse Media New England’s Plymouth, Mass., office, and can be reached at email@example.com.