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Death and Taxes

by James Garside 8 months ago in Humanity · updated 7 months ago
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Unedited diary extract

Photo by Aidan Bartos | Unsplash

Take care of your own room; change your own ways of being. Take baby steps AWAY from the adults and PLEASE once and for all, abandon the species in its larval state, and embrace evolution towards becoming creatures no longer held captive by the laws of physics, or politics, or identity or gender. Make this day the beginning of an open story that you write, instead of passively colluding in a fictional character with your given name and apparent body, a fictional identity assembled by the expectations and needs of others. The greatest possible freedom you can ever have is the freedom to realise that you can be anybody, ANY-BODY, and any character, any identity, any creativity that you truly desire. The only limit to what we can become is the limit language puts upon us in its service of control. All hail the PANDROGYNE messenger of a possible New Way On. — Genesis P-Orridge

[Words make me happy. Numbers make me sad. This is an unedited diary entry from MANY years ago, back when I was working as a freelancer, when I had to file my taxes for the first time. I got VERY stressed out about the whole thing, but did it all correctly, and in the end was given a tax rebate as they’d taxed me too much.]

They say that there are two things that are certain in life — death and taxes.

This is ironic, given that it is these two areas about which I am or have been the most fearful and uncertain for the most of my life to date.

I don’t like death.

It’s not that things end that I find so unpalatable, but the thought that once it does end there is nothing and you will forget everything you have ever done or experienced, all the people you’ve known, all of it — gone.

And it only lives on in others insofar as they are still alive, and we are all too soon forgotten.

And even Shakespeare will one day crumble to dust when the earth no longer revolves around the sun.

It all ends.

And no religion that I have studied has ever been able to give me the comfort of an afterlife or that it won’t end or you won’t forget.

They try to, they stake claims that lay waste to the intelligence in other people’s minds, and would lay waste to my own were it not for the simple fact that I can’t hold it down.

Give me ‘the good book’ and I vomit.


I tried to read both the Bible and the Quran, and also the Bhagavadgita, and in each case I was physically sick or so overcome with nausea that I was unable to go on reading.


Something about the words, their cadence, their rhythm, doesn’t sit well with my stomach.

Like travel sickness but from reading.

You know how you read on a coach and you get more sick than if you read on a train.

Well, kind of like that.

But more to do with the words themselves.

All of that aside, what I really wanted to talk about was taxes.

Strangely, that’s what I’ve become the most fearful of and baffled by.

I ‘get’ death, but I don’t get taxes.

And somehow it appals me more than anything else.

Oh, I understand completely how it works and why it’s there, I just don’t like it.

But if you don’t file your taxes, that’s no defence either as they just fine you until you do do your taxes.

But ioronically I feel like I’ve earnt fuck all and aren’t self-employed.

I feel like cutting my losses, saying look I made a mistake fuck off I’m sorry but leave me alone.

What annoys me is that I know of certain people who are earning fuckloads more and not declaring it at all.

And getting away with it.

I don’t begrudge them that, I just wish I hadn’t been so fucking honest.

These ‘honest workers’ aside, I’ve also met drug dealers who sit around in the scummiest falling apart places you’ve ever seen, but with 50-inch televisions in their front room.

Judging by the amount of money they were making they could probably afford to retire in a few years.

I know its a mug’s game to work for someone else, but I just absolutely loathe the headache of doing my taxes, of accounting, of finance at all.

That said, you hear of people like Leonard Cohen getting all of their money stolen, and that makes you think too — like the leeches that steal from the back of this great man.

And all he has to show for it is nothing, he has to go back out again on tour just to earn enough money to retire on.

That said, you don’t feel too sorry because at least they have that ability, that gift, and the ability to attract a crowd.

It shouldn’t be too hard to eke out enough to get by on.

These are random thoughts, I realise, but my head is scattered by these resentments, not of the living and the creative, but of the vampires that feed off of them, and even that then is being unkind to vampires.


I don’t like leeches.

But I can’t stand my own position, where I am now, my situation.

It has to change for the better or end once and for all.

I have to change it.

Make it up, make it happen.

Why is there so much fear and resistance in me to this thing?

It’s almost as bad as my fear of public speaking?

Ooh, just had a thought, almost a quote from someone else of course, but they say that what you fear you must face, and also that whatever it is that is causing you massive resistance you should probably run headlong towards as that is where the biggest growth experiences may lie.

Well, ta da.

Do your own accounts just this once you lazy arse and stay in the game.

It won’t kill you, and you’ll learn a lot from it.

Not in the eat-your-greens sense, but it will be good for you.

It could even ultimately provide you with the opportunity for the quickest financial growth — that’s why they want to scare you out of it.

In baby talk — there be a cookie in them woods.

Aye, there be gold in them woods.

Perhaps my biggest fears I should face one after the other — public speaking, taxes / finance, being judged (whatever that means) ie. not feeling good enough.

It also affords you the most oppportunity to do good works in terms of tithing potentially massive profits to charity.

Ten percent of nothing is nothing, but ten percent of everything is a lot.

I’d rather give ten percent of my income to charity than to the government, and even that makes me feel a little better.

Amnnesty plus K’s recommended amalgamation or blanket one that covers most of the ones that I support.

Then every time I get a book published I can donate a library or something to the world.

Ten percent of none-of-your-fucking-business.

And if I earn enough (even as little as 1000 in a year) then I’ll employ an accountant, and if significantly more I’ll employ more than one accountant, one to do it, and one to check what was done independently.

And just to be on the safe side I could rotate the auditor of the accounts on a regular / annual basis.

Another bit of random input: read in an unconnected article, the idea that if you have no fear then there is nothing to defend.

Ie. you don’t need government and military if you aren’t scared of attack, and if you aren’t being murdered then you don’t need defending.

Which on some levels is complete bollocks, but in these terms if you move it across to finance, well if you aren’t scared of being taxed and aren’t scared of being screwed then you have nothing to worry about.

Also conversely if you aren’t scared of being audited then don’t sweat it.

But don’t fail to account for legitimate business expenses just because of some sort of fear of being challenged by them if you don’t pay the money-grabbing-bastards enough tax.

Help is on its way, you can feel it in the air, or is it just that the sun is streaming through the windows, as light pours into the room your mood lifts, which is quite ironic for a vampire.

Little kid stuff really.

What’s amazing is that we got so scared at all.

James Garside is an independent journalist, author, and travel writer. Join Chapter 23 for the inside track on all their creative projects and insights about life, work, and travel.


About the author

James Garside

NCTJ-qualified British independent journalist, author, and travel writer. Part-time vagabond, full-time grumpy arse. I help writers and artists to do their best work.

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