Jon Dawson: Tax Deductions, frozen yogurt and men's moisturizer

Jon Dawson: Tax Deductions, frozen yogurt and men's moisturizer

The world’s greatest use of signage to date as photographed by Jon Dawson at Bogue Inlet Pier / Neuse News

I was lucky enough to spend some time with family at the Crystal Coast last week. Also, I worked in a fantastic four-hour daytime nap.

Life has been more hectic than normal lately, so it was nice to put some distance between our obligations and breathe some ocean air. There's nothing like a few days of swimming, flea markets and fantastic food to temporarily extinguish the flames of the rat race. Mind you, the humidity was so high I saw two fire hydrants fighting over a dog.

Tax Deduction #2 is becoming quite the swimmer, so if it were up to her we would've stayed in the pool for the entire three-day trip. She likes to curl up in a ball and have me throw her towards Tax Deduction #1, who is stationed nearby in a large doughnut-shaped flotation device. There is nothing like using your offspring as a torpedo.

TD#1 is on the edge of 15 and fairly reserved, while TD#2 is 8 and makes a hummingbird hopped-up on Mountain Dew seem lethargic by comparison. Their relationship is like a buddy-cop movie without the car chases and gunplay, but based on all the testing it’s only a matter of time..

After a recent rehearsal, my band mate Jode Haskins and I reminisced about the times we'd swim way out into the ocean to reach the sandbar near Bogue Inlet Pier. If anyone saw a fin, a chorus of "those are just porpoises" rang out. We'd all grown up on reruns of "Flipper" so we assumed everything would be just fine. It's been said by many that a porpoise is simply a dolphin with intent.

My personal theory is all of these flavored suntan lotions are drawing the sharks to us. Far be it from me to tell the Hawaiian Tropic Corporation how to run their operation, but their new "Bacon and Chum"-flavored suntan oil might be bad for business in the long run.

We still go to the actual beach to fly kites and pick up seashells, but since the sharks are now coming ashore for the early bird special at Applebee's, we stay out of their house.

We do not visit "antique" or "vintage" shops while at the coast, as those are usually code words for "expensive" and “what won’t these Yankees buy?”. Places like The Hem of His Garment in Swansboro and the Newport Flea Mall are more our speed.

Treasures obtained from the Newport Flea Mall for total cost of $1. Photo by Jon Dawson / Neuse News

During our expedition, I found a great vinyl LP by Dave Brubeck sideman Paul Desmond for $1, while The Wife and TDs found a cheese grater, three fancy-schmancy glasses and a necklace for a total of $1.

We attempted to obtain some butter pecan ice cream from our favorite place on the waterfront in Swansboro, but the streets were crammed with cars for blocks as if Sinatra was in town. As a fallback, we drove to a frozen yogurt shop, and I was appalled to see a "FroYo divider” dispenser next to the cups and napkins:

Replacing wireless earbuds as the world’s most unnecessary invention, the yogurt divider. Photo from YouTube.

Have we as a species devolved to the point we can't handle pistachio-flavored yogurt and mango-flavored yogurt at the same time?

During the Great Depression, millions of people survived on flour bread and water for months on end, but just a few decades later we're unable to navigate the dietary complexities of frozen yogurt. Then again, someone has convinced a generation of men to invest in moisturizer, Botox and beard trimmers more advanced than anything NASA ever landed on the moon, so I should have seen the FroYo divider coming up U.S. 70.

If Neal Armstrong's dehydrated eggs happened to get mixed in with his dehydrated grits, I wonder if he would've thrown a fit and told Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to turn the command module around and head back to Denny's?

Aside from FroYo-gate, the vacation was agitation free. I have no snappy ending this week, so here’s a little Paul Desmond clip from his days with Dave Brubeck:

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

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