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   THE IRS LETTER...
   
   Dear Sirs:
   I am responding to your letter denying the deduction for two of the
   three dependents I claimed on my 1996 Federal Tax return. Thank you. I
   have questioned whether these are my children or not for years. They
   are evil and expensive.
   It's only fair, since they are minors and not my responsbility, that
   the government (who evidently is taxing me more to care for these waifs)
   knows something about them and what to expect over the next year. You
   may apply next year to reassign them to me and reinstate the
   deduction.
   This year they are yours!

   The oldest, Kristen, is now 17. She is brillant. Ask her! I suggest
   you put her to work in your office where she can answer people's
   questions about their returns. While she has no formal training, it
   has not seemed to hamper her knowledge of any other subject you can name.
   Taxes should be a breeze. Next year she is going to college. I think
   it's wonderful that you will now be responsible for that little
   expense. While you mull that over, keep in mind that she has a truck.
   It doesn't run at the moment so you have the immediate decision of
   appropriating some Department of Defense funds to fix the vehicle or
   getting up early to drive her to school.
   Kristen also has a boyfriend. Oh joy. While she possesses all of the
   wisdom of the universe, her alleged mother and I have felt it best to
   occasionally remind her of the virtues of abstinence, and in the face
   of overwhelming passion, safe sex. This is always uncomfortable and I am
   quite relieved you will be handling this in the future. May I suggest
   that you reinstate Jocelyn Elders who had a rather good handle on the
   problem.

   Patrick is 14. I've had my suspicions about this one. His eyes are a
   little close together for normal people. He may be a tax examiner
   himself one day if you do not incarcerate him first. In February, I
   was awakened at three in the morning by a police officer who was bringing
   Pat home. He and his friends were TP'ing houses. Kids at 14 will do
   almost anything on a dare. His hair is purple. Permanent dye,
   temporary dye, what the big deal? Learn to deal with it. You'll have
   plenty of time as he is sitting out a few days of school after
   instigating a food fight. I'll take care of filing your phone number
   with the vice principal. Oh yes, he and all of his friends have raging
   hormones. This is the house of testosterone and it will be much more
   peaceful when he lives in your home. DO NOT leave any of them
   unsupervised with girls, explosives, inflammables, inflatables,
   vehicles, or telephones. (I'm sure that you will find telephones a
   source of unimaginable amusement, and be sure to lock out the 900 and
   976 numbers!).

   Heather is an alien. She slid through a time warp and appeared quite
   by magic one year. I'm sure this one is yours. She is 10 going on 21.
   She came from a bad trip in the sixties. She wears tie-dyed clothes,
   beads, sandals, and hair that looks like Tiny Tim's. Fortunately you
   will be raising my taxes to help offset the pinch of her remedial
   reading courses. Hooked on Phonics is expensive so the schools dropped
   it. Good news! You can buy it yourself for half the amount of the
   deduction that you are denying!

   It's quite obvious that we are terrible parents (ask the other two) so
   they've helped raise this child to a new level of terror. She cannot
   speak English. Most people under eighteen can understand the curious
   lingo she fashioned out of valley girls/boys in the odd/reggae/yuppie/
   political doublespeak. I don't. The school sends her to a speech
   pathologist who has her roll her R's. It added a refreshing
   Mexican/Irish touch to her voice. She wears hats backwards, pants
   baggy and wants one of her ears pierced four more times. There is a
   fascination with tattoos that worries me but I am sure that you can
   handle it. Bring a truck when you come to get her, she sort of "nests"
   in her room and I think that it would be easier to move the entire
   thing than find out what it is really made of.
   You denied two of the three exemptions so it is only fair you get to
   pick which two you will take. I prefer that you take the youngest, I
   still go bankrupt with Kristen's college but then I am free! If you
   take the two oldest then I still have time for counseling before
   Heather becomes a teenager. If you take the two girls then I won't feel so bad
   about putting Patrick in a military academy. Please let me know of
   your decision as soon as possible as I have already increased the
   withholding on my W-4 to cover the $395 in additional tax and made a down payment
   on an airplane.
   Sincerly,






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