The letters “IRS” used to instill terror. Nowadays they tend to instill terror and contempt. But never mind all that. The threatening IRS phone call I received the other day had nothing to do with Lois Lerner and the systematic harassment of people with the word “freedom” in their organization’s title.
I was instructed to call them back “the very second” I received the notice. … I must do it “before the IRS takes any legal action against your name.” I did a quick mental Rolodex search and assuaged my mind that I had indeed filed my tax return this year—and even sent a check to Uncle Sam (the term of endearment has lost the benevolent ring it once had) that he will use in part to help Planned Parenthood abort babies.
But who am I to go up against the IRS? Am I not a flea? I was going to take the warning seriously when my husband interjected that the phrase “the very second” didn’t sound like something a government agency would say. He picked up the phone and dialed the provided “IRS hotline number” and got a busy signal. That also was strange. What? Did they have only one phone line—and it was busy?
So we had a good laugh—until I thought about my parents. The bulk of my 89-year-old father’s mail these days is from people he gave 10 bucks to sometime in the past and is now forever on their mailing lists. Suppose the “IRS” calls him? Suppose he gets scared of the “legal action against your name” part and dutifully sends them the “$2,500 they will require of him to settle accounts?
We never got phone calls like that when I was a kid. At least not so routinely. (I am also harassed daily by a recording that always begins, “There is nothing currently wrong with your credit card account, but it is urgent that you call us immediately.” I have tried to be removed from their robocalls but have thus far been unable.)
We have entered the times described by the prophets:
“The godly has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among mankind; they all lie in wait for blood, and each hunts the other with a net. Their hands are on what is evil, to do it well; the prince and the judge ask for a bribe, and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul; thus they weave it together. The best of them is like a brier, the most upright of them a thorn hedge. … Put no trust in a neighbor; have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth …” (Micah 7:2-5).
And give your aging parents a heads-up.