Timely 1933 lament


(Malibu resident Cindy Nordstrom-O’Shea thought this would be a wonderful time to print a letter written by her grandfather, Nicholas Pierose, to the City of Los Angeles, in 1933. O’Shea said she and her cousins would call their grandfather Grampy, which years later they realized was “kid speak for Grumpy; now I know why.”


I beg to inform you that the present shattered condition of my bank account makes it impossible for me to send you a check in response to your request for a remittance. The state of my present financial condition is due to the efforts of federal laws, state laws, county laws, corporation laws, by-laws, brother-in-laws, mother-in-laws, outlaws that have been foisted upon the unsuspecting public. Through these various laws, I have been held up, walked on, sat on, sand bagged, battered and squeezed until I no longer know where I am, what I am or why I am.

These laws compel me to a merchant’s tax, capital tax, stock tax, excess profit tax, income tax, state auto tax, gas tax, light tax, road tax, school tax, surtax, syntax and carpet tax. In addition to paying these taxes, I am requested and required to contribute to every society and organization that the inventive mind of man can organize: to the Society of John the Baptist, the Women’s Relief, the Navy Relief, the Children’s Home Fund, the Belgian Relief the Near East Relief, and the Gold Diggers Home. Also I am asked to contribute to every dog, cat and human hospital and every charitable organization in town including the Red Cross, Black Cross, Purple Cross and Double Cross.

The government has so governed my business that I do not know who owns it. I am suspected, expected, inspected, disrespected, examined, re-examined, informed, required, commanded, expelled and compelled, until all I know is that I am supposed to provide an inexhaustible supply of money for every known need, desire and hope of the human race. Because I refuse to donate all I have and refuse to go out and beg, borrow and steal more money to give away, I am cussed, held up, held down, boycotted, talked to, talked about, lied to, lied about, knocked down and robbed until I am nearly ruined. The only reason I am clinging to life is to see what in Hell in coming next.

Nicholas Pierose

P.S. I have one dollar left, but that goes to the bank to pay for their privilege of holding my money until it was gone.