If Accountants Edited the Classics

I often ponder on the strange, the weird, the bizarre, and the downright silly. So it happened yesterday that I considered: What would have been the result if tax accountants were hired to edit the literary classics? Don't bother to ask why. Just go along with it, after all, it is the beginning of tax season.

Perhaps this is how some of those classic books would have begun if tax accountants were involved in the editing process (edits shown in red).

melville_01{Moby Dick by Herman Melville}

"Call me Ishmael. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, I stopped by my accountant's office in New Bedford where he advised me to complete a Schedule E for Supplemental Income and Loss since I had recently entered into a real estate partnership with three other gentlemen - Messrs. Starbuck, Stubb, and Ahab."

{The Bostonians by Henry James}

henry_james2"'Olive will come down in about ten minutes; she told me to tell you that. About ten; exactly like Olive. Neither five nor fifteen, and yet not ten exactly, but either nine or eleven. I told Olive, if she ever wants to become a tax accountant she had better be more precise than that!"

{The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R Tolkien}

"This book is largely concerned with Hobbits, and from its pages a reader may discover much of their character and a little of their history. Meanwhile, the 2006 Form 1040 Instruction booklet has absolutely nothing at all to do with Hobbits, although it was written by people with pointed ears, funny looking feet, and who reside somewhere in Middle-Earth (a/k/a Washington, DC)."

mark_twain{Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain}

"You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. Me and Tom, we ain't paid no taxes in a bunch a years. We just bounce from town to town down the ol' Mississip without a care in the world. I reckon we ain't never gonna get caught by the ol' IRS 'cause we ain't got no social security numbers. We ain't never filed. Ain't never once!"

{The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne}

hawthornenat"A throng of bearded men, in sad-colored garments and gray, steeple-crowned hats, intermixed with women, some wearing hoods, and others bareheaded, was assembled in front of a wooden edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak and studded with iron spikes. Alas, we were all being audited by the IRS."

{The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald}

"In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. He said, 'Son, always form a limited partnership, that way you lessen your personal liability should the IRS ever come calling. Here's the number of an accountant friend of mine. Give him a call. By the way, aren't you about due for a haircut?'"

dickenschas{A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens}

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, heck, it was April 15th and I still hadn't finished my taxes yet!"

{The Crucible, a play by Arthur Miller}

millerarthur2"A small upper bedroom in the home of Reverend Samuel Parris, Salem, Massachusetts, in the spring of the year 1692. There is a narrow window at the left. Through its leaded panes the morning light streams. A candle still burns near the bed, which is at the right.

"At the time of these events Parris was in his middle forties. In history he cut a villainous path, and there is very little good to be said for him. Furthermore, he often cheated on his taxes by grossly misstating his income and inventing deductions, such as: cost for purchasing Devil Bags to keep away witches, $200; cost for purchasing garlic to protect family members from witches, $100; cost for purchasing matches to burn witches, $75."

joycejames{Ulysses by James Joyce}

"Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned:

"-Intaxo estimato forgete Dei (which is Latin for "Darn, I forgot to file my first quarter estimated tax!")"

And just a few others:

bronteemily{Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte}

"I have just returned from a visit to my landlord - the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. I swear, every year he goofs up my 1099 form!"

{Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte}

"There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning in search of the IRS office."

harperlee{To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee}

"When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. Fortunately my father, Atticus, was able to show the medical expenses as a deduction on Schedule A."

Jack Sheedy

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