Usually, I blog about music, but Halloween is my favorite holiday so I thought I would share a little anecdote about how Halloween saved me from tax fraud.
Halloween is hands down my favorite time of the year. Creepy costumes, horror movie marathons, pumpkin spice everything, seasonal Snapchat filters (#selfie of me above) and, most importantly, sweater weather.
I grew up in a rural Illinois, so the whole pumpkin patch with the corn maze and apple cider donuts with hay bale rides and tractors that could wake you up at 6am type of atmosphere permeated the town I grew up in. Basically, if you don’t need to Google what a combine is right now, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Now my hometown loves fall. Some people even handed out full-sized candy bars on Halloween, I mean people were just as crazy about this holiday as I was. In fact, my friends and I just ended up dubbing the whole month of October just as Halloween because that is just what it felt like.
So throwback to 2014, where the skeleton war raged on Tumblr, Everyone was scared of Ebola, and I was half a semester into my senior year of high school, taking a max amount of classes possible so I could exempt out of gym class.
I was that guy in high school that did everything from the hard classes to club president to school plays to band and choir to prom committee and I hated it. I just wanted a break because I never stopped moving or organizing or thinking about college or feeling like dying. Outside of class and extracurricular activities, I also was worked like a dog 30 something hours a week at a local fast food chain. I actually loved my time there and I don’t want to bring the chain I worked in under fire so we’re just going to say that I worked at a really nice ice cream place.
So here we are 6 to 7 weeks into the year of high school that everyone wants over. I’m taking 2 college cred dual enrollment courses, 3 ap, like a bazillion after school activities, and then work every night 4 or 6 to close (in fast food if you close, you get out sometime around 11-11:30ish) with doubles on the weekend. I was only putting myself through this because the thought of not being able to pay for college was so daunting and in my face every time I turned around. It’s even worse when you come from a town where you can name every person in your yearbook along with a memory about them and nothing , not even Halloween haunted houses, could scare you worse than staying in your hometown.
So here I am, mental health slowly declining, falling asleep in class and having nightmares of ice cream cones, and my grades slowly dropping (which actually didn’t really matter to me I already decided on UIC but I like being dramatic). After a while of this much stress, I kinda cracked. Not like I broke down and rocked in the fetal position, but just every single time I was given a responsibility my mentality was ‘NOPE’ and I dipped.
So back to my job and my love of Halloween, at this ice cream place, you could take off X amount of time if you were in high school so you could enjoy the “High School Experience” but normally they would just never put you back on the schedule and hire someone else (fast food is vicious, man). So, being fed up with work and school and what not, and deciding I can worry about college when I get to it, I called my boss and told him that I needed all of October off so I could join the tennis team.
Of course, this was a lie. I’m the laziest busy person alive. Try to get me to run around when I’m not on the clock I dare you. I literally took an extra English class to avoid the state required gym class (thank you loop holes). Also, I was going to lose my source of food/gas/phone bill money but it was whatever I the idea of having my favorite month to myself was too amazing to let go.
So I did everything you can do in the fall. I carved pumpkins, watched scary movies, went to every Halloween party, enjoyed homecoming, went to parks, wORE SWEATERS. I even went to barn parties #SmallTownLife.
So, now you’re probably like… I read exactly 727 words and nothing about tax fraud has come up? Is this article a lie? Am I being lied to? Should I call my parents and tell them how I’m doing because I haven’t done that in a while? (I just threw that one in but you should) Well, that part happens right now.
So November is slowly approaching and I’m having the time of my life but my wallet hurts and I know I should probably go back to working so I call the ice cream place I work at and a manager picks up and I’m like ‘yooooo I quit the tennis team that I never was actually on can you put me back on the schedule’ (imagine that but more professional) and I hear a scoff and some off the phone murmuring and a ‘I’ll tell [insert owner’s name] to put you back on in November. ‘
So basically no, we’re not hiring you back, have a good life. There’s hope sometimes, though, so I waited until November to see if I was on the schedule. I wasn’t. In fact, no one was. The ice cream place closed down due to years and years of tax fraud within 5 days of November starting. People were being investigated by the government and bank accounts were frozen and, even 2 years later, people never got paid for any time they worked in the month of October 2014.
So if I worked more than 30 hours a week, or more than 120 hours in a month, I saved myself from working 120 minimum wage hours and not being paid for it just by enjoying my life. Never in my life had I made a better decision without knowing what was going to happen in the future and I probably will never make another decision that great ever again but it’s whatever.
If you’ve ever seen Footloose, you would know that everyone knows everything somehow, so I never actually learned from my boss that I was fired/let go/out of work. I found out from going to school the next day. My 24-hour high school rise to fame involved people wanting to know why their valuable ice cream supply had been cut off, and me not having answers.
Eventually, I got a nice cute job at a dry cleaners with nowhere close to the amount of hours I used to work, which was just enough to pay for my gas and phone and stuff. The ice cream place opened again with new owners about 6 months later, and things went on like nothing ever happened. I even googled the place and couldn’t find any info on the place being closed due to fraud so now it’s just a memory that, one day, I won’t be sure if it actually happened or not.
Looking back at this, I apologize if you’re like ‘man, I wasted a solid 5 minutes reading this blog post with a click bait article title’, but I thought it was a decent story. Decent enough to blog about at least. If you made it this far, just take away one thing from this thrilling anecdote. Enjoy yourself, do stuff you love, love stuff you do, make time for your hobbies because you might thank yourself for it later. You might even thank yourself now. Either way, Halloween is great and spoopy and everyone should take the time to enjoy themselves this fall before it gets too cold to go outside. Maybe something great will happen, who knows?