Thursday, April 14, 2011
I have a very good friend who has complained, over the years, that her birthday has been compromised by the federal government. She has the sad luck of being born on the day before taxes are due. Whether this has actually had any fiscal impact on the number of cards she has received or average price of the gifts is still a mild point of contention. It has certainly made it easier for me to remember because of that association, especially when you consider that it usually takes a yearly preemptive reminder to me about exactly which day in January my mother was born. Maybe my friend will take comfort in the fact that this year the deadline to file your taxes won't be until April 18. That is because Emancipation Day will be observed on April 15 this year. Go ahead and make your tax-filing freedom jokes now, but savor the irony that this little-known celebration of the freeing of slaves in Washington D.C. back in 1862 allows for all of us to take another couple of days to fret or procrastinate. If it seems like this is a new wrinkle in the Tax Day drama, keep in mind that this holiday has only been an official public holiday since 2005. Who says that your federal government doesn't give back? And so, for this year, the stigma of April 14 and all its anxiety and acrimony can fade. The focus falls squarely back on the birthday, not the late-night rush to the mailbox. Unless you're planning on celebrating the publication, in 1939, of John Steinbeck's "The Grapes Of Wrath," for those of you who enjoy a little irony with your cake.