Well, it’s tax day.

Tax day is a more grown-up version of laundry day. It feels like a major accomplishment. After months of procrastination, you slog through it and emerge, on the other side, feeling like a fully formed adult — and it turns out to be something you are expected to do every year with no positive reinforcement whatsoever. This feels unfair.

And given that we grew up getting small plastic trophies for tying our shoelaces successfully — one for the Two Loops approach, a second for mastery of the Rabbit Goes Around The Tree — this is a huge let-down. Every time I go jogging I have the dim sense that someone should emerge from the bushes with a sticker. So far, no stickers are forthcoming. And according to the People Who Urge You to Be Healthy, I should do this three times a week, as a matter of routine. Routine?

This is one of the terrible truths of adulthood.

Some events are acknowledged milestones. If you produce a baby or succeed in finding a mate, people throw you a shower where they sit around, awkwardly sipping day-cocktails and pretending to be excited about cutlery and Educational Toys. (“Wow, I didn’t know you needed a special spoon for that.” “I bet he’ll love that teething toy shaped like Mozart.” ) We celebrate weddings. We celebrate birthdays, with increasing sheepishness as time rolls along.

But all you need to do for a birthday is to sit there. Whereas taxes, cooking, managing to trap and release the mouse family under the sink in the bathroom — these things take actual effort. And where’s the parade?

Here it is.


You’re welcome.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".