87 thoughts I had while doing my taxes.

1. Ugh.

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2. Ugh ugh ugh.

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3. Uggggggggggggghhhhh.

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4. What fresh hell is doing my taxes going to bring this year?

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5. I have too many 1099s. Brutal.

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6. What are benefits repaid to SSA?! Do I even need this form?

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7. By this time next week, I will be thousands of dollars poorer. Hooray!

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8. Thanks, Uncle Sam! You did this.

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9. I can’t deal with it right now.

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10. I mean, why should I have to pay taxes?

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11. I work hard. I give to charity. Why do I have to pay so other people can get free stuff?

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12. That's it. I'm going for a walk.

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13. Probably gonna get a donut.

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14. I deserve to treat myself today. I'm doing my taxes, after all.

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15. Just two blocks to the donut store.

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16. Looks like they finally repaved the sidewalk. That’s something, at least.

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17. You know, I never really thought about how the sidewalk gets paved.

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18. Does someone in an office downtown just decide one day, “Hey, that sidewalk is pretty messed up” and send a bunch of construction workers to do it?

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19. I guess I pay for it.

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20. With my taxes. That I don’t want to do. Or pay. Or think about.

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21. Glad it got done though.

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22. Wow. What a beautiful day.

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23. Hey, look at that mountain!

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24. That’s a cool mountain.

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25. I look down at my shoes so much I never noticed I lived by a mountain.

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26. ‘Sup, mountain.

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27. It must be part of that newly designated national forest.

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28. I guess ... I should also be grateful that my taxes pay for the park rangers to take care of it.

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29. I mean, the mountain definitely helps property values around here.

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30. And without taxpayer-funded government protection, it might be all covered in trash and scrap metal and stuff.

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31. Or have its top blown off by some coal company.

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32. I should hike up that mountain one day.

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33. But donut first.

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34. Definitely donut first.

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35. What kind of donut do I want?

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36. Glazed? Chocolate cake?

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37. Of course, the fact that I know how to read the donut menu at all is because I was educated in public schools, which my parents’ taxes paid for.

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38. Ooh, yes. Vanilla sprinkles. There it is.

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39. Love a frosted donut.

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40. Now that I think about it, taxes also pay for the farm subsidies that help America grow ungodly amounts of corn that becomes the corn syrup in the frosting.

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41. Would this donut even exist without farm subsidies?

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42. If it did, it’d be like $17, instead of $1.05.

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43. Maybe that’s why there are so many frosted donuts in America.

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44. I wonder what would happen if somebody punched me in the face and stole my donut?

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45. I’ve never been punched before.

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46. I guess it would probably hurt pretty bad.

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47. And someone would call the cops.

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48. Why do cops even exist? I suppose because we all pay the government once a year and a small portion of that goes to pay cops.

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49. Not that, you know, cops are always 100% chill, but still. Nice to have someone to call, if you need to, when you get punched.

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50. Mmmmm. Fried donut. Fried in greasy, greasy oil.

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51. Come to think of it, donut shops are kind of dangerous.

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52. What if all that oil caught on fire?

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53. I guess the fire department would come.

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54. And put it out with their tax-funded trucks and hoses.

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55. Hm ... guess I should probably start walking home to do my taxes after all.

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56. Good thing that car stopped when I crossed the street instead of mercilessly mowing me down, as it probably would have without a tax-funded streetlight to stop it.

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57. Wait a sec — I feel like ... like there’s someone behind me.

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58. Like, multiple people.

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59. Oh, it’s a youth soccer team. Phew.

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60. It's not a horde of crazed cannibals.

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61. Double phew.

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62. Why aren’t there crazed cannibals around?

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63. I suppose it’s because my taxes pay for food assistance so people don’t have to resort to eating human flesh.

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64. And housing assistance so people don’t have to starve alone in dank, musty caves.

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65. And a legal system that imposes severe penalties for killing people and cooking them.

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66. It’s almost as if ... there’s an entire, complex, hidden infrastructure undergirding my ability to safely get a donut that depends on me paying my taxes.

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67. Which I still need to do.

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68. True, there’s a lot of stuff I'd rather my taxes not pay for.

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69. Like dropping bombs on random countries.

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70. And a new football stadium every three years.

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71. But we don't get to pay a la carte. Otherwise, everyone would just pick and choose, and important programs that we don't even think about wouldn't get funding.

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72. Not to mention, other people might not want to pay for the stuff that I want my taxes to go toward.

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73. Like the subway so I can get places without a car.

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74. And weather satellites so I know when to put on my boots before I go outside.

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75. But especially this donut.

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76. Millions of other Americans paid up so I could have this sweet donut.

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77. Thanks, everyone!

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78. You’re the best.

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79. Even though taxes are something you have no choice but to pay.

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80. And you’re probably more than a little pissed about having to do them right now.

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81. OK, I'm home. It's time to face the beast.

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82. Weirdly, I actually feel good about paying taxes now.

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83. Anything that prevents me from twisting my ankle, dying in a fire, or being eaten by a ravening horde is OK by me.

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84. Ooh, and maybe I'll get an article out of this.

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85. And I can deduct that donut as a business expense.

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86. Boom. Just owned taxes.

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87. Definitely need another donut to celebrate.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less