Ben Franklin’s second certainty

Today was a good day to visit Nelda, one of the few remaining in this calendar year. Be it ever so leaky, it’s good to have a roof over one’s head even if paying for the privilege includes an annual property tax that far exceeds the total annual mortgage mortgage payments.

It isn’t as much fun and is much less convenient since the main office moved from downtown out next to Chair King on Airport. I suppose it’s still possible to walk up and make the payment, but the default is that bank-like arrangement where only a mechanical voice is heard. At 7:30 am sharp, the “OPEN” light goes on and the early person on the shift will gladly take your money.

Added since January 2005 is a little rooflet over what’s probably the smokers’ door so that the numerous pigeons roosting inside the canopy don’t bless the heads of those below. There’s also now a fence between the tax collector’s office and Chair King, where the last of the jornaleros were arranging the day’s work at this very busy unofficial day-labor market.

The certainties are the old “death and taxes” and it was news here that Benjamin Franklin is reported to have said it first, in 1789, in what’s really a remark about about something else altogether: “Our Constitution is in actual operation; everything appears to promise that it will last; but in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.”

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