Taxed to the Max

All shook down...

By Al Carlos Hernandez
Published on LatinoLA: March 25, 2006

Taxed to the Max

First of all, I don?t get myself in ridiculous situations just so I have something to write about, but when you adopt a certain demeanor and an expressionistic lifestyle there is a downside and often times it feels like discrimination.

Friday is my real day off. That is the day I clear my head by riding my motorcycle, often times doing errands or as my wife calls them Mandatos in English translates to Mandates.

I was on a mission with permission, the objective was to ride into downtown to the Federal Building and pay an urgent IRS bill for our business. Parking as you know downtown is outrageous, two dollars for every 20 minutes, if you ride a cycle, you can park at a bike meter for 2 hours for 10 cents, that?s what I?m talking about.

The plan was perfect and found a space very close to the facility, but because of the neighborhood I opted to carry my helmet with me. I didn?t want to come back from doing business only to see some homeless cat wearing my helmet directing traffic in his pajamas.

Having been to the IRS Federal Building before, I knew there was security, but this was before 9-11. Since 9-11 they may be more afraid of taxed to the max citizens, then rock throwing Spanish chins.

Like double Dutch jump rope, I caught my rhythm and goose stepped through the spinning revolving door, spiting me out the other side with keys in hand. All eyes were on me as there was a wall of security guards in blue sport coats; they looked like a broke glee club.

Trying not to look like Chopper riding zealot I tried to appear calm and pleasant, but smiling makes me looks inebriated. Tossing the keys onto the conveyor belt, I strolled through the metal detector then it beeped. They directed me to go through again, 2nd trip money clip, 3rd the belt, then my pants started falling down. They then asked me, as I held up the line, for a picture ID, to sing the national anthem, and a note from my Mama.

I flashed them my driver?s license which fortuitously and ironically had a picture of me looking shot to the curb, the mugs matched.

Ordered to remove my shoes, ( happy that I wore clean socks), as I held the helmet in one hand, my pants up with the other, trying to gather my wardrobe and whatever was left of my dignity, they confiscated my car keys because of a small LL Bean utility knife two inches long on my key chain. I was allowed through, but forgot why I was there in the first place.

While struggling with my levis, smashing on my boots, I looked to the right where there was a construction worker sitting on a chair trying to get his stuff back on, angry that he knew he had to go through the same drill across the street. ?They will have me down to my skivvies at the State building, maybe if we dressed like punks in suits we wouldn?t have to go through all this.?

I found the right room and stood in the information line. The IRS is very much like the DMV only with the threat of Federal Jail time. The line multiplied quickly while I knelt down to lace up my boots, three people cut the line in front on me. The woman at the desk was efficient I guess IRS workers are under a new mandate to pretend like they are nice and helpful.

Finally I was in the express, no waiting pay the government what you owe them, no matter if you owe it to them or not line. No one was there but a large pink box of donuts.
Another line formed behind me, soon a Latina walks up to the counter and rings a bell; a worker gets mad at me like I did it, as Latina sneaked back into line. ?Someone will be with you in a minute, OK!? Dude it wasn?t me??

She snuck up again and rang the bell, this time someone popped up and helped her. She was a master at line cutting and I was proud of her. As my luck would have it, the same guy who thought I rang the bell was the guy who waited on me.

Suffice to say I should have brought cashiers check, rather than the normal check I brought, based on what the IRS people on the phone told me, but I made him give me a receipt anyway.

Looking back, I don?t blame the security guys for giving me grief. In hindsight I did look irate, malevolent, suspicious, and it wasn?t until later that I realized had my sunglasses on the whole time.

About Al Carlos Hernandez:
Al Carlos always owes G's.

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