I am big fan of the post office in general and of my local post office in particular. I go there as often as I can (honestly, I do). But, when I needed stamps on Monday, I was not prepared for the line snaking out the door. I had completely forgotten about tax day! I girded myself for a long wait, but the clerks were the very picture of efficiency and I was in and out and all stocked up on bonsai stamps in ten minutes.
While I stood in line, I thought about the peculiarity of our tax system. For most Americans, April is a month marked by terrible stress, paper pushing and a last minute mad dash to get the taxes finished before April 15 (or the 17th, this year). People plan and pine and worry and most pay a sizable percentage (16-20 percent even for people of lower income brackets) of their annual income in taxes.