This morning I watched a television show on the deadly Civil War battle at that occurred at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. While I watched, I prepared myself for myself for the drudgery of year-end bookkeeping and taxes; an act which in comparison makes Gettysburg seem not so bad, at least I’d be outdoors.
Danie Packard is my Farm Business Management instructor, an excellent guy. Danie and I have known each for about 12 years and so have gone completed my paperwork at least 12 times. I would have to say that each time is more painful than the last no matter what order in which they’re arranged.
The whole process involves taking a year’s worth of bookkeeping and trying to make an easily understood story of my year in farming. Danie and I prepare a financial statement, a cash flow statement and a financial analysis which we then use to prepare my taxes. The numbers at the bottom of the page tell me whether I’m doing well or not; I typically ask Danie to scroll the computer image down to the bottom at intervals prior to the completion of each form; it’s almost like peering into the future.
There are times during the process when Danie will take a big sigh and say, “oh, boy.” He doesn’t realize this, but this simple act makes my heart jump and creates a taste of metal in my mouth. I don’t have nor need any death-defying hobbies because I have Danie and face the fear of death each time he sighs. Typically these little releases of wind originate when Danie realizes he’s forgotten his lunch or to take out the garbage. However, I am so present in the moment that these statements tighten my stomach and are excellent reason for me to get-up and walk tiny, nervous circles in the Packard office.
Taxes with Danie are fun, just like getting the tip of your finger slammed into the door of a car that has particularly close tolerances between the door and jam is fun. My taxes are prepared using a computer program that keeps a running total of what I owe or the amount of my return which really amplifies the tension. I perch over Danie’s shoulder and growl words of encouragement in an effort for some sort of refund. I am not a math person; as such this whole process is like fumbling around in the dark of an unfamiliar hotel room. I like to be in control and paperwork seems beyond my reach. Danie knows he is my only lifeline and so entertains himself with plenty of anxiety-inducing sighs and emphatic use of the phrase, “oh, boy” during my time of need.
I like Danie Packard, I don’t like paperwork. He first graphs the numbers of our financial life then paints a story using those numbers for which I am thankful. Although he makes everything as easy as possible, he is the only element of the meeting which I enjoy; the rest is a study in pain . I stopped by yesterday to make an appointment and I notice Braille lettering at the top of the name plate outside his door. I wondered if the lettering describe his office number or his name. After careful thought, it is quite clear that if I were to read Braille, it would clearly state, “abandon hope all ye who enter here.”