Two thousand four was my first full year as a single homeowner — we did own a house back when I was married, but that was years ago — which meant that my tax returns for that year would be the first in some time in which I would be able to itemize deductions, a major boon to the wallet, partly because the deductions I would be allowed were a smidgen in excess of the Federal standard deduction, but mostly because the Oklahoma tax code back then limited the standard deduction for 511EZ short-formers to a meager $2,000. While my Federal taxes dropped a little, my state taxes dropped a lot.

The need to document all these deductions led to an unexpected, but explainable, discovery: while October is one-twelfth of the year, it accounts for more than a third of my annual charitable contributions. The explanation is simple enough: October is pledge month for the two public-radio stations to which I contribute; it's also the month of the Blogger Boobie-Thon, an online fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, to which I have contributed for the past three years.

Okay, simple enough. But there was one question remaining: am I somewhat more disposed to making contributions in October than in other months? After all, the radio stations also have spring pledge drives, and a buck in April counts just the same, for their purposes and for the taxman's, as a buck in October.

Score this one as a definite maybe. I do know that concern for my fellow man is a lot easier for me to sustain when I'm not being beaten to