Training videos derail when IRS goes Hollywood

It was bad enough that, to avoid the looming April 15 tax filing deadline, I was forced to gather up receipts for my annual sacrificial offering to the tax gods by pawing through my well-designed, er … highly functional … ummm … OK, dubious “filing system.” (Hey – I’m running out of shoeboxes over here!)

And then? We learned that the good ol’ boys and girls at the Internal Revenue Service issued an APOLOGY to the taxpayers for a $60,000 expenditure for – what? Making a movie.

That’s right, friends. A viewing of the IRS-produced video of an elaborate “Star Trek” spoof was demanded by the House Ways and Means Oversight subcommittee (tongue-twisting proof we REALLY NEED all those tax dollars funneled into Washington). When the IRS video subsequently went public, the proverbial poop hit the fan.

(Major alert: not content with just one foray into the realm of Tinsel Town, a second spoof was made by those crazy tax kids – “Gilligan’s Island,” featuring realistic scenic gems such as plastic palm trees.)

Created, ostensibly, as a training device, the six-minute “Star Trek” video features IRS employees elaborately costumed as the iconic characters from the popular sci-fi series. In the video, shown at an IRS employee conference in 2010, the “crew” is flying their Enterprise spacecraft toward the alien planet “NOTAX” where creatures are appallingly committing, um … tax fraud. And yes, the acting is atrocious.

Actor William Shatner, the original Captain Kirk and (ahem!) serious thespian, was “appalled” at the IRS’s take on the series that made him a household name. OK, so there can only be one Steven Spielberg, right? But that the IRS was taken to task for this ill-conceived venture into filmmaking.

Therefore, I am offering my services to the IRS for a venture into a little training video-making of my own. And you won’t owe me a dime, IRS. That’s right. I’ll just keep what I’d normally pay you every year and we’ll call it even. And lest you think I don’t have any worthy training video ideas, well, just listen up.

Too many people stress out about paying taxes and need a way of loosening up. Relaxing. This is vital so people can keep working, earning money to pay even more, yes – taxes! It’s a win-win situation, don’t you see?

My first Art of Relaxation Training Video will highlight a visit to a remote island somewhere in the Caribbean. There will be beaches and palm trees (real ones, not those fake knock-off plastic atrocities) and frosty drinks featuring little umbrellas poked into pineapple chunks. As crystal-clear waters break languidly onto white sand, the central character (that would be me) will be smoothing on suntan lotion (well, at my age, better make that a sunblock SPF 500 or some such) and snoozing behind $1,000 designer sunglasses. Calming, right?

The following year’s Art of Relaxation Training Video will be steeped in tranquility. Making weekly pilgrimages to the world’s finest destination spas, this video will feature restful dips in swirling therapeutic waters, stress-reducing massages, facials that knock years off one’s face and let’s “face” it (sorry; pun intended) – all that stress and worry about taxes can leave us with virtual canyons on our collective countenances. Combine this with a calming “mani” and “pedi” and it’s a training video nirvana for nervous Nellies prone to worrying about why the government needs such a large chunk of change out of our pockets.

This is just the start, IRS friends. Every year a new Art of Relaxation Training Video will be available to you for distribution to the hard-working masses that hate-hate-HATE paying their annual tax obligations. After screening the Art of Relaxation Training Videos, folks will be clambering to pay taxes!

That’s right. You will no longer need to waste OUR money making those goofy videos, IRS. Because I’ll be happily wasting YOURS!

And if this offer for my Art of Relaxation Training Videos isn’t your cup of tea, no problem. Just give me a buzz. At my private number. You know where to find me. Yep. Just a short galaxy ride away on the alien planet of “NOTAX.”