The Smog of Tax Returns: An MS Fairy Tale
Living with MS and searching for invoices, Daddy Bear has reason to growl
Once upon a time, children, there was a very grumpy bear who kept a low-level, incessant growl going all day. And often, well into the night, too. If his family were lucky, this would only last about a week, but usually it would last a lot longer. He was snappy to be around. Dinners became high dramas. Family life was awful. This happened around the same time every year.
It was when he did the annual tax returns.
You see, Daddy Bear and Mummy Bear ran a business together. Then one day, children, something happened to the Daddy Bear called multiple sclerosis (MS), and he couldn’t manage to do the tax returns alone anymore. The intense concentration needed was now beyond him. At least he didn’t get his yearly sore throat from all that growling. Even big brown bears have their limits.
What he really found annoying was that Mummy Bear, though she too got stressed, was far more efficient at it all. She presented the raw figures in a more professional way for their Accountant Crow, who peered imperiously over them, adjusted the numbers to fit both the prevailing and ever-changing tax laws. The other advantage of employing an Accountant Crow, besides his superior numeracy skills, was that he then neatly pecked out the finished documents and promptly fluttered his wings to deliver them back for Mummy Bear and Daddy Bear to sign.
This also gave Accountant Crow his necessary workout for the day. Very handy, or more aptly, very wing-tippy.
All would finally be packaged up and put into the greyhound post. Birds may be faster, but they just couldn’t manage the weight of postal volume. Bird telegrams had been axed because they just didn’t make a profit. Yup, they’d made soaring losses.
There was a rumor that at least one incredibly secretive public school still maintained its own owl post. No one knew where it was, though Scotland was a distinct possibility. The Scots were always a mysterious lot.
Last week was the dreaded tax week. Both Mummy Bear and Daddy Bear hated it so much because they never stayed on top of invoices throughout the year. Everything was a lot worse as Daddy Bear’s MS conveniently made it impossible for him to handle anything he was extremely bored by. Strange, hey. MS fog hadn’t really been a problem since he’d been prescribed modafinil (brand name Provigil) years and years ago. Last week it was.
Daddy Bear spent two whole days researching just a few things. It took him forever to stumble through the old-fashioned London pea-souper 1950s coal-fired smog of his brain to find where everything was. Indeed, Mummy Bear told him to stop as she could tell he was now slurring his words. He was hopelessly lost in the smog at a time when GPS hadn’t been invented.
The MS smog cleared overnight — blown away perhaps by his dreams. The recalcitrant figures actually turned out to be blindingly obvious in the now bright sunshine of his day.
Mummy Bear could now quickly finish everything.
It probably helped that she’d made breakfast porridge for both of them, as well as, of course, for Baby Bear. Please note that Baby Bear had just turned 40!
Things were even better as they’d learned to lock all their windows and doors, then hold their bowls tightly. Goldilocks could wail all she liked — she wasn’t getting in.
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