Tuesday, May 21, 2013



In the “World According to Garp” T. S. Garp and his wife, Helen, are considering the purchase of a house. Garp asks Helen if this is “their home.” A house is a structure and a home is a place to raise a family and create memories of you life. As the Garp’s are gazing at the house exterior, a light plane is approaching while obviously experiencing engine problems. The plane crashes into the second floor of the home. No one is injured. Garp decides this will be their home as it is now safe. He turns to his wife and the agent and says: “We'll take the house. Honey, the chances of another plane hitting this house are astronomical. It's been pre-disastered. We're going to be safe here.” The scene can be viewed on YouTube at “www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBSAeqdcZAM” and “http://movieclips.com/7Wu2-the-world-according-to-garp-movie-pre-disastered-home/.”  

While our property can apparently be disastered, if it can be pre-disastered, then so may we be disastered. While the scene in the story is characterized in humor, there is nothing in real life about a disaster that is truly humorous. I have been looking for a word to replace the “V_____” word. That six letter word is broadly attached to anyone “who experiences a disaster.” For years I have been using the longer phrase instead of the “V” word. As my first post on this blog discusses my feeling on the use of the “V” word, I will not re-hash that discussion except to reiterate my belief in differentiating damage to stuff from injury or worse to people and pets. If you walk away from the destruction of your property then it is “an experience” not “a sentence.” The “V” word implies a loss of personal control. Maybe having been disastered is the one word replacement for the phrase “someone who experienced the disaster” and either is better than the “V” word for most of us who walk away from these catastrophic situations.

Being disastered does not reduce personal resilience. The image of a “V” is someone who is unable to take care of themselves. I hope that if you have been disastered, you need your resilience and strength.

Being disastered is what has happened to you. Being a “V” is condition that requires further definition. I hope it catches on. Thanks Garp and Robin Williams.

This blog, “AccountantForDisasterRecovery.com” has been addressing taxpayer income tax issues related to catastrophic losses for five years
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This material was contributed by John Trapani. A Certified Public Accountant who has assisted taxpayers since 1976, in analyzing and reporting transactions of the type covered in this material.  
Internal Revenue Service Circular 230 Disclosure
This is a general discussion of tax law. The application of the law to specific facts may involve aspects that are not identical to the situations presented in this material. Relying on this material does not qualify as tax advice for purpose of mounting a defense of a tax position with the taxing authorities
The analysis of the tax consequences of any event is based on tax laws in effect at the time of the event.
This material was completed on the date of the posting
© 2013, John Trapani, CPA,

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