Taxification season. When I started my private practice years ago I promised myself that I would never hire an accountant, and that I would do everything on my own. I studied the BIR website thoroughly, and whined in unison other friends who were on the same miserable boat. At the advice of my friend Uni-Horned Beef Jerky Alanis Whore (who had mastered the BIR website) I lined up at the BIR RDO in Intramuros to request for a change of RDO, then lined up at the BIR in our province to register, lined up again for the receipts, and so on. Eventually we realized that new memoranda would keep on popping up, new systems would get implemented periodically, and we would feel more miserable trying to catch up, specially with private practice starting to pick-up. With my co-whiner Hatchett (who was also starting her career in pediatrics) we eventually hung our heads in shame and hired an accountant. The relief of the burden getting lifted was similar to how they describe thyroid storm–you never realize how much better you’d feel until you no longer have it, thanks to PTU, propranolol, and saturated solution of potassium iodide.
At the time one of my nightly routines was watching a 30-minute legal show on channel 7 (or one of its sister channels), basically because I had no cable and my ancient cathode ray tube television couldn’t catch any other local channels. In the show letter senders would ask the host for legal advice, and one of the more common problems was this little thing called “estate taxes”. I had no idea what it was. In fact, no one in our family had any idea. My father had been dead for about two years at the time, and we hadn’t paid anything for the property he had left because we didn’t know. We also had no money for it, anyway. Since we were already beyond the 6-month period we had incurred significant surcharges. So we sold our only car to pay for it. As per Atty. Alonso’s advice on TV I could include the hospital bills and other documents as attachments, which might lower the taxes a bit. You see, if you really want to you can pay these taxes… for infrastructure, healthcare, salaries of honest government leaders, and the betterment of all mankind. (canned laughter)
For about 7 months I would commute to and from the many hospitals I was affiliated with, since we had given up our car. It shouldn’t really be too difficult as I had been commuting my whole life, except, the location of the hospitals made commuting extremely time-consuming. I would have to wait for an hour for the UV Express to fill up (17 passengers for a car that should only accommodate about 12 or less), and after a total of two hours of waiting and commuting I would get to my clinic, where I would be welcomed by my secretary with the announcement, “walang patient!”.
Still, I insisted that I would never get a car, since I couldn’t afford it. One summer afternoon the driver said that the aircon of the UV Express had broken down, so we had to keep the windows open. I said sure, I needed this ride, I’ll just close my eyes and fall asleep I’m so used to this.
Two minutes in I was awoken by a cacophony of “buk-buk-buk-bu-GAWK!”. The guy behind me, apparently, had a box of live chickens squawking and flapping under the seat, and through the hellish trip these damn chickens would do all kinds warbling, clucking, and purring sounds, not to mention that we all ended up smelling like wet feathers and feeds by the time we reached our destination. The following week I swallowed my fucking pride and made a car loan.