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Tax season is difficult for everyone, but can you imagine what it would be like if you had an alter ego like wacky Nurse Judy? Believe me, it’s tough. Still, I am able to cope. It’s the tax accountant who just can’t deal with the situation. “How could five dozen boas possibly be a business expense?” he asked.
“Oh,” I explain blithely, “Nurse Judy got those for book signings and friends who bought her books.”
“And 60 cat ear head bands?”
“The same. You must know that the heroine in her book ‘Mystery at Morania’ worked in a Pink Pussy Cat Club, so this is a perfectly legitimate business expense.”
He looks skeptical. “And what about these badges with her picture on them?” he continues.
“That’s easy,” I respond. “Those are for her fan club. Aren’t they cute?” I hauled out a bag full of them for his inspection.
“She bought hundreds of them,” he said. “How many fans does she have?”
“Well, I couldn’t say exactly.” I try to skirt around the issue, “but she told me she had given out about 20 badges.” I didn’t mention that at least five of those were pinned on her own fancy duds and that I was the proud owner of three myself. I just tried to cover up the bulging bag, which I was now sorry I hauled along. Even with my hips, the cover-up was woefully inadequate. I moved forward and shoved the bag under his desk, my movements so impaired by my age, those hips and my bad joints that I made the little old man from the Carol Burnett show look like a marathon runner.
The accountant stared at me. “What about these six pairs of rhinestone stilettos? It’s obvious you haven’t needed those either,” he said. “A walker would be more your speed,” he added as an aside.
“I don’t appreciate that snide remark,” I said. “Those shoes are for Nurse Judy’s public appearances and speaking engagements.”
“What do they do? Carry her in and out?” he mumbled under his breath, but I heard him. This man was rude. “Let’s get off business expenses for a minute,” he continued oblivious to my anger. “Your most egregious mistake is listing Nurse Judy as a dependent. You cannot do that.”
Now I was mad. “What do you mean?” I ask. “We have just been discussing all the expenses she has caused me. Of course, she’s my dependent. I have to support her every silly whim. I go to work to a serious job just to make enough money for her frivolities. Would I be working at my age if I weren’t saddled with her? Answer me that, young man.”
“Calm down, Ms. Conlin. We both know that Nurse Judy is just a part of you, an alter ego, if you will. Therefore, she cannot be listed as a dependent.” I saw his hand inching toward the phone on his desk. “Would you like me to call someone to come and get you?”
I wondered if he meant someone from a mental institution. I was becoming more and more agitated. “Of, course, I know she’s my alter ego. It’s bad enough I have to live with this creature and support her. Now you refuse to acknowledge this and want me out of your office. I’m not leaving,” I shout “Not until you help me out. If you don’t, I’ll- I’ll- just have you deal with her in person.” I saw the hand that had been creeping toward the phone stop. It was trembling.
“I cannot list her as a dependent,” he said in a high voice, his eyes bulging, “but I’m sure these business expenses can be approved.”
“Thank you, sir,” I said serenely, dragging the bag of badges as I hobbled out. Sometimes having a wacky alter ego isn’t so bad. In a way though, the semi-victory was a little hollow. I would have loved seeing Nurse Judy bean him with one of those stilettos.
Judy Conlin and her alter ego write from Havana.