Jon Dawson: La Grange girl's triumph yields endorsement, restaurant offers

Jon Dawson: La Grange girl's triumph yields endorsement, restaurant offers

Before we attempt to cross the levity divide, I'd like to direct everyone to a GoFundMe page set up to aid my friend Jon Hughes. He's dealing with a serious medical issue and any help would be appreciated.

Our beloved Tax Deduction #2 participated in a gymnastics recital last week. I'm proud to report she performed a flawless routine, showed a great amount of poise, and was comically embarrassed when she won a trophy.

Not since the likes of Nadia Comaneci has a gymnast dominated an event in the manner TD#2 did last Wednesday. Maybe I've inhaled a bit of second-hand hyperbole from Neuse News Editor Bryan Hanks, but the kiddo knocked it out of the park.

Being a parent and a worrier of some renown, I watched tentatively while TD#2 cartwheeled, flipped and flopped around the stage like a blender unmoored from its base. Even though there were enough padded mats on stage to sustain a Dom DeLuise high dive, visions of an emergency room visit danced in my head.

As I write this, someone, somewhere, is having their child fitted for a pair of safety reading gloves. I'll bet you an RC Cola there's a toddler in your community wearing a life preserver while sitting in 1/2 an inch of bath water.

Between the genetic gear shift that (hopefully) clicks in with parenthood and the continuous stream of freak occurrences that seem commonplace thanks to social media, its a wonder kids are allowed to breathe without someone standing over them with an instructional manual.

During my youth, I looked serious injury in the eye many times but we never actually danced. Several times I was instructed to crawl on top of a trailer filled with sheets of cured tobacco. My instructions? If one of the sheets of tobacco (which weighed roughly three times as much as I did) started to slip off of the trailer in transit, I was to "grab hold" so it wouldn't bust open on the road.

Another character-builder was having to shove extra-wide sheets of tobacco out the small second-floor door of a packhouse. As time marched on, the sheets ballooned to be tighter than Jack Benny in the Fall of ‘29.

Shoving these bulging sheets in the second-floor door wasn't that big of a deal thanks to a long metal boom and a tractor driver with good aim. Shoving them back out the door required a running start strong enough to pop it out the door while being able to stop without riding down with it.

Once while being taunted by the guys on the trailer below, my coworker Peter and I shoved one out the door while they weren't looking. We mumbled "look out" under our breath just before impact. No one was injured, although the loud bang caused by that 300-pound sheet of tobacco falling 20 feet onto an empty metal trailer caused everyone in the ground crew to run for cover while simultaneously trying to get right with the Lord.

Peter only had one functioning lung, and he laughed so hard he had to sit down for a minute.

The craziest thing TD#1 ever did as a toddler was sneak behind a chair and stand on a guitar case. As soon as we'd look at her she'd laugh and run away.

Conversely, TD#2 had to be put in a high chair if you wanted to sit for more than 11 seconds. Eventually, the fire department grew tired of the frequent calls, so they just lent us a bucket truck and a ladder until things calmed down.

At her gymnastics recital, TD#2 showed great poise during her routine, even though it was tough to focus since a few adults in the audience weren't content to let the kids have the spotlight. It must be tough for a little kid to concentrate on a routine while adults are hooting and hollering as if they're running barefoot through a field of Legos.

High-pitched wails of "WOOHOO" permeated the air, to the point it seemed some demented zoologist had fed a family of owls nothing but Red Bull for a week and turned them loose in the auditorium.

During the awards presentation, TD#2 received a trophy for Most Improved Junior Gymnast. She received flowers and congratulatory gifts and even gave a 30-second interview to ESPN79.

The following day, endorsement offers from all of the major shoe companies were in our mailbox. Local businessman Jonathan Massey even has plans for a string of "Tax Deduction 1&2" restaurants.

An advertisement made in 1968 for Minnie Pearl's Fried Chicken franchise.

"My uncle was the mastermind behind the Minnie Pearl's Chicken Restaurants of the 1960s, and I'd like to build on that legacy," Massey said. "Since Jon Dawson obviously plans to ride this 'TD 1 & 2' thing into the grave, the restaurant will have a built-in audience through his column, podcast, monthly newsletter and motivational seminars.”

Massey continued, “Our happy meals for the kids will come with a free six-month subscription to Neuse News and either a Bryan Hanks or Paulette Burroughs Pez dispenser."

Jon Dawson's humor columns are published weekly by Neuse News. Contact Jon at and

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