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The Semiotics of Beauty

Had a client yesterday with such severe tributaphobia (a word I just made up! It means “fear of taxes.”) that she shook like a leaf throughout our entire hour-long session.

“I want to claim my daughter as a dependent,” she told me. “But my daughter has all this tuition stuff. Does that mean she’ll lose money if I claim her?”

“Did you supply more than half of her financial support in 2017?” I asked.

“Oh, yeah!

“Well, then you can claim her as a dependent, and you can claim her tuition credit,” I said. “But she can still file a tax return to get back the amount she overpaid in federal and state taxes. She just won’t qualify for a personal exemption.”

I did her taxes and her daughter’s taxes.

Daughter had quite the phone snit when informed she would have to drop by Oak Mausoleum (not its real name) to sign the form.

When she finally showed up, I had the oddest experience looking at her.

Have you ever looked at one of those pictures of a beauty from a bygone era and wondered, What were they thinking?

That was my experience looking at Chelsea.

A beautiful girl by 21st century standards.

But she looked really bizarre to me. A ton of facial foundation, jeweled acrylic nails out to there, fake eyelashes an inch and a half long, skinny as a rail.

Kind of looked like one of those pictures of alien life-form femme fatales that used to adorn the covers of 50s sci-fi tabloids.

Maybe she’d look human on Instagram.

The semiotics of beauty! Always interesting.

PS: The tributaphobia lady got several thousand dollars back.


Also had this guy whose sole income was the $6,000 he made working as a clerk at the Dollar Store last year.

He was extraordinarily well spoken. And he wore incredibly expensive basketball shoes – I know because I’d priced them when I was looking for RTT bday gifts – and he had a really good haircut. I figured the enormous glittering studs in his ears were fakes, but I didn’t know about the gold chain.

I really wondered about his other sources of income!

Ditto with the extremely personable mother-of-three who made a marginal, on-paper income running her own – ahem! – building inspection business but had nothing in the way of transportation expenses.

I mean – how do you do building inspections without driving out to the sites?

Not my business, I know, I know.

Hey! We don’t indemnify clients.

But, you know. It’s like beneath the tip of the iceberg, all these really, really juicy stories are lurking, and you just want to find out about them!


Max has gotten into every policy program he’s applied to, including GSPP, which is ranked #1 in the nation and which is also my alma mater.

GSPP won’t give him any $$$$ though. The UC Berkeley Law School didn’t give him any $$$$ either – not surprising; California is broke – and I personally thought it was a mistake for him to go there.

I’m really hoping he decides to go to policy school in Syracuse – ranked at #6 – which would put him a mere two-hour drive away from me for the next year.

If he does GSPP, maybe he can get Robert Reich to hire him as a personal assistant. [Insert wan smiley]

This entry was originally posted at http://mallorys-camera.dreamwidth.org/696953.html. You may leave comments on either Dreamwidth or LiveJournal if you like.



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 9th, 2018 05:28 pm (UTC)
I am tributaphobic, as you know :’D
Mar. 9th, 2018 05:35 pm (UTC)
You are!

But fortunately, you have an excellent therapist -- me! :-)
Mar. 9th, 2018 07:31 pm (UTC)
Absolutely! <3 <3 <3
Mar. 9th, 2018 09:01 pm (UTC)
I am supposed to be checking our tax return that R(my husband)does for us. He did a stint volunteering to do taxes for AARP one year. He would tell stories about some of the characters that came in.
Mar. 9th, 2018 09:10 pm (UTC)
Your husband volunteered through the same program I volunteer through.

It's quite entertaining. :-)
Mar. 10th, 2018 05:07 am (UTC)
where/what is gspp?
Mar. 10th, 2018 01:24 pm (UTC)
Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley.
Mar. 11th, 2018 06:31 am (UTC)
Ah, beauty. Yes. I often think about the horrible fact that there are fashions in women's bodies. You might be lucky to be born small-breasted in time to wear the flapper dresses of the 20s, but unhappy to have that shape during the large-breasted-but-low-body-fat ideal of the 80s. It seems so harsh and cruel that women have to deal with this. What's that thing with the thigh gap? In times past it would be a sign of starvation.
Mar. 11th, 2018 03:05 pm (UTC)

Beauty ideals are a cultural signal.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )