Think of the “Here’s Your Sign” campaign started by Bill Engvall:
Stupid people should have to wear signs that just say, “I’m Stupid.” That way you wouldn’t rely on them, would you? You wouldn’t ask them anything. It would be like, “Excuse me… oops… never mind, didn’t see your sign.”
A couple of months ago I went fishing with a buddy of mine, we pulled his boat into the dock, I lifted up this big ol’ stringer of bass and this idiot on the dock goes, ‘Hey, y’all catch all them fish?’ ‘Nope. Talked ’em into giving up. Here’s your sign.’
I was watching one of those animal shows on the Discovery Channel. There was a guy inventing a shark bite suit. And there’s only one way to test it. ‘Alright, Jimmy, you got that shark suit on, it looks good… They want you to jump into this pool of sharks, and you tell us if it hurts when they bite you.’ ‘Well, all right, but hold my sign. I don’t wanna lose it…'”
The Brick, darling husband, and I have done more than our share of contributions to the stupid tax lately. Like late fees. We were too busy celebrating the Fourth to realize that Paypal’s “Pay It Later” bill was due, in fact, the day before. Penalty for missing it by a day: $35. On a $16.– payment.
Every time you pay a late fee, you’re contributing to the Stupid Tax.
Every time you do something you know isn’t smart — like eating moldy food “because it needs to be used up” — you’re racking up points on the stupid tax. (I was more guilty of this before we got chickens — now I just throw it to them.) More examples:
- Learning to smoke
- Paying a lot more for plane tickets or hotels because you didn’t bother to plan ahead.
- Still paying credit card interest on a vacation a year ago — because you couldn’t set money aside for it ahead of time. (Maybe you shouldn’t have gone in the first place.)
- Going out to eat several times a week…even though you couldn’t pay the last credit card bill in full.
- Paying extra to have your license or passport renewed — because you didn’t pay attention to the expiration date. (This person got away — barely.) Give yourself bonus points if you got a ticket and traffic court because of it.
I’d feel a lot worse about our own Stupid Tax mistakes, if there weren’t others who are contributing too, including this person and this one. Our government must get in on the fun as well, including spending nearly three million dollars teaching Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly. (Tell that to the next deserving college student who misses out on a scholarship because the money’s gone.)
Maybe we need a sign.
Cindy Brick is a personal property appraiser, judge and national teacher who loves to write about frugality and other personal finance topics. She has written six books and hundreds of articles, but often focuses on quilting, her teaching specialty. She lives in Colorado with her husband, two golden labs and a flock of very suspicious chickens. Find out more at Brickworks, http://www.cindybrick.com, or visit her personal blog: http://www.cindybrick.blogspot.com