My bursts of self-improvement last a maximum of twenty minutes. Last night in a flurry of conscientiousness, I cleaned out my desk.

My desk contains all of the things I vaguely feel a responsible person should have. Not being responsible, I don’t know what to do with them so I crumple them up and throw them in drawers.

Bank statements. They terrify me. I have not balanced my checkbook since high school, but I must coddle some sort of dead fantasy that I will one day because I still tear open the envelopes, pretend to read them, despair, but am frightened to throw them away.

Pay check stubs. I feel I should eventually shred them so no one finds out my top-secret pay. In the meantime, I leave them lying around until a shredder materializes out of thin air.

Receipts. For the first month, I kept them in envelopes in an expanding pink file from Staples. Now I fish them out of my bag by the fistful and toss them into my desk drawer. I have receipts for everything from Fresh Direct to $4.88 bowls of soup at Think Coffee.

Shopping bags. I kept every shopping bag from every shopping excursion I took this year with the tissue paper crumpled inside, along with the tags and spare buttons. Why? I baffle myself.

Taxes. W-2 forms make me ponder questions like this: How does one even go about paying taxes? How much money did I actually make this year? If I miss the April 15 deadline because I deny reality until April 14, will the IRS jail me? If I promise to die before age 55 do I still have to pay Social Security?

Sentimental crap. I keep every card anyone ever wrote me. Also, mementos from pranks. (Remember the time someone found J___ L____’s library card and ordered him chick lit from InterLibrary Loan? Well, that was me and I just threw away all the proof.)

No sign of my credit card, which I haven’t seen for … oh, several days now. (Must be with the first one I lost.) Or my favorite pair of jeans, which are bafflingly missing, along with my new-found conscientiousness. If you find any of the above, send it my way — in a Banana Republic bag, with a receipt for shampoo attached — so I can keep it forever and ever.


~ by stultiloquence on April 4, 2008.

5 Responses to “Irresponsibility”

  1. Don’t worry, you can file your federal taxes online – thank goodness. 🙂

  2. i keep paycheck stubs too, until i throw them away in a frenzy. i think throwing them away together somehow neutralizes the guilt of never using them and not really knowing HOW to use them.

  3. you reminded me about account balances and i just checked – i DO still have money in my checking acct, ptl.

  4. Emily – I know! Exactly! All of these things are things that I feel like I should be doing something with, but I have no idea what.

  5. Wait! Did you have some hand sanitizer and matches? Just thinking of prank mementos. 🙂

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