I remember, once a year in my kidhood, leaping out of bed and dashing to the living room where I would find glorious piles of bright, shining paper, and oh yes, there would be joy.

Now I am an adult, and once a year I stumble out of bed and march grimly to the living room to find piles, yes, and paper, yes, but they are receipts and bank statements and 1099s and utilities bills.

And there is no joy, only relief when at last I click Send and off goes a megabyte worth of convoluted data to my accountant, who — God bless her and her patient ways — last year edged out my therapist as the Most Important Professional in my life. I used to be stubborn about doing my taxes myself, but now that I’m living abroad and self-employed and so on, I need the guidance of someone deeply informed and not panicky.

A couple of weeks ago I whined to my mother about how much I missed form 1040EZ, and she tactfully reminded me that when I was using that form I was reporting income derived from cleaning the wax out of hearing aids. So I can’t really complain. Except on April 15th, when it is every American’s right to complain volubly, no matter who privileged they are (see also the first Tuesday in November).

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