The check’s not lost … just give it time to materialize

Burt's Eye View

Dear County Property Tax People,

My check might be a little bit late. See, I put it in a safe place so I wouldn’t lose it and, well… I’m having a bit of trouble finding it.

It’ll turn up. Possibly when I’m digging through the refrigerator to find the ketchup or when I’m pawing through the laundry trying to find my socks. Safe places tend to move around that way. I think it has to do with black holes and astrophysics and stuff like that.

See, there was nothing I could have done about it.

Once, when we were playing outside on the farm, my mom told me to keep a careful watch on my baby sister, so I put her in a Safe Place. It took us a week to find her again.

No, no, I’m kidding. But there was that incident with the cow that Dad told me to lead back to the barn. You would have thought no one had ever misplaced a cow before. Which I hadn’t, of course. It was the astrophysical black hole stuff at work.

I’m sure it’s happened to you, too. You have this item that you know you will need later. You can’t risk just leaving it on the table or a countertop. No. It must be carefully settled into a Safe Place where no one or nothing can disturb it, move it or otherwise prevent you from putting your hands on it the moment you need it.

Then that time comes and you have no idea where the Safe Place went to.

You check all the likely spots, the logical spots and the intelligent spots — all the places you’re sure you would have used.

But it’s not there.

ZAP! It must have teleported to another galaxy, like under the couch cushions or inside a box of Froot Loops. I’m sure if you questioned a chemical engineer, or Scotty from “Star Trek,” they’d tell you it works on the same principle that makes socks vanish from the dryer.

No one’s sure if it makes that transporter sound when it beams away. It’s like the tree falling in the forest thing.

What I’m trying to say is I know the check for my property taxes is here. Somewhere.

You know I always pay my property taxes on time. Most of the time. When I remember.

This year, I wanted to make sure that you didn’t have to mail me any more of those pointless reminders, so I scribbled the check early and sealed it in a stamped envelope addressed to you.

But I couldn’t mail it because not all the money was in the checking account yet. I’ve noticed that you get testy about that sort of thing, cashing checks only for the bank to tell you it checked and found no cash.

(I don’t see why I always get blamed. We all know that banks lock things up in Safe Places. Well … if it happens to me, I’m sure it happens to banks, too.)

I knew you would insist on me waiting until the money was in the bank before the check was in the mail. So I carefully and methodically tucked it into a Safe Place.

Just go ahead and mark me down as paid in full. I’m good for it. The envelope’s bound to turn up sooner or later. The cow did. A bit riled up, too. I really don’t remember putting her in the car, but there she was. Right after I heard this strange buzzing sound, like the Star Trek transporter makes.

Say, have you checked your safe lately? It’s probably already there.


Burton W. Cole

Prompt Property Taxpayer

— Find Cole in a black hole at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com or at www.burtonwcole.com.


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