DETROIT -- It was a rough year for Detroit area small business owners. It was particularly rough if you were also a fan of the hapless Detroit Lions, whose winless 2008 season set an NFL record for futility. While both the team's and the city's recovery are expected to be a long way off, one small business owner stands to reap a modest windfall, claiming the Lions' winless 2008 campaign as a "total loss" on his recent tax filing.
Owner and operator of a small print shop, 58 year old Hal Abrams insists the team's woes had a direct, albeit difficult to measure, correlation on his slumping business.
"For sixteen consecutive Mondays it was a morgue in here," said Abrams, shooing away a mangy alley cat that wandered across one of his idle printing presses. "Week after week, it was just brutal. I'll admit I didn't take it well. After week six it was obvious we weren't going anywhere...it got to the point no one wanted to be around me, I just wasn't in any mood. By week eight I was lucky if someone walked in off the street to use the photocopier."
When asked if the drop-off in business was just as likely attributable to the shell-shocked automotive industry and the city's cratering economy, Abrams refused to budge.
"You see, you see, that's exactly the problem. Things go bad, people start pointing fingers. No one takes responsibility anymore. If the coaching staff and the players just looked themselves in the mirror, maybe, just maybe, they would have posted a win. One win. Is that too much to ask?"
H&R Block tax preparer Zelda Klein dismissed Abrams's unorthodox deduction as a red flag that is unlikely to stand up to even cursory IRS scrutiny. "I will give him this, it is innovative. But I wouldn't recommend it - unless your idea of fun is having a colonoscopy performed by a team of IRS agents without the benefit of a local anesthetic."
Abrams was asked how he planned on spending the refund check he fully expects to receive owing to his "loss."
"Close up shop, load up the van and get the hell out of here. Maybe relocate to a city outside the division. But right now I'm just going to lay low. The last thing I need is the IRS up my butt...now that would really be a total loss."