Hello fellow “tax man” haters. Getting off the grid has been our goal here in the Whitten household for many years. But it seems like every time I make a move toward being self-supporting, my government makes a counter-move. But I still tread forward with the strength of my grandfather, doing what I must to keep my family safe and happy.
Our first attempts to tip the scales toward getting the government out of my life came twenty-five years ago, when I lived in Missouri. Within a few months of moving to the “Show Me” state, I had built a cistern, collecting water from our roof. I no longer needed the county’s water, and it sure didn’t take them long to come investigate. Funny thing– the tax assessor showed up, wanting to welcome us to “his” county. Frank was friendly enough, until I would not let him in the house. As my pop used to say, “Never let the tax man in your home!”
Frank started writing down license plate numbers for my boat, my old truck, and our good car. When I inquired as to why he needed this information, he stated, “We tax all your personal property here in Missouri,” to which I replied, “Then you better tax the bank, because they own it all.”
Frank found no humor in this, and it seemed as though he was getting a little upset at my attitude, and that gave me an attitude. So when Frank wasn’t looking, I took the glass of lemonade my wife had given him and poured it out. When he looked at the empty glass, he popped an ice cube in his mouth, and I explained to him, “The dog must have drank your drink; he does that all the time,” to which he quickly spit the ice out, and ol’ Harley swallowed the ice cube up quickly.
Then came the questions. “You seem to have quit using our water,” he said in a matter-of-fact tone. That sent me over the edge. I kept calm though and led him to my new underground water tank. I told him, “You really have to get below ground to see how I plumbed around your system.” I knew that would get him. I got the ladder out, and he went down into the tank. As soon as he got down there, he started barking orders at me, things like, “It’s dark down here; get me a light!” That was my cue. I quickly pulled the ladder up, leaving him alone in my new cistern. Well, he wasn’t completely alone– ol’ Harley was peeking down and howling like a hound dog does when there is a skunk in the yard, slobbering all over Frank‘s head.
I left Frank in the well for about twenty minutes, until he was good and upset, then dropped a treble light down to him. “I don’t want the light, just put the ladder back!” he screamed. When he climbed out, I explained to him how I needed the ladder to get my treble light out of the garage, but he really didn’t want to listen at this point. He left without thanking my wife for the lemonade, and within a week, the county sent me a bill for all my personal property, along with a copy of the pet laws and a fine for not applying for a permit to build a cistern.
I learned a lesson, and so did Frank. I learned that messing with a tax man can cost a lot, and Frank learned never to ask for a light when he is in a well.
See you all next week!