Jon Dawson: Tax deductions and bubblegum shoes

Jon Dawson: Tax deductions and bubblegum shoes

Although the humidity is still draped over us like a cheap, knotted-up Superman cape on Halloween night, summer is pretty much over.

This year Tax Deduction #1 is a high school freshman, while Tax Deduction #2 is a fourth-grader. Having children at different schools means The Wife has to get these truants up and moving a little earlier.

How early, you may ask? So early the neighborhood rooster has filed for unemployment.

Weekends aside, I've always been an early riser. When I was a kid in the 1970s and ‘80s, I had to be up early as our bus driver had no patience for tardiness. On more than one occasion a parent would step on their porch and flash the "give us just a second" sign, only to be greeted by the clickity-clack of the automated stop-sign flopping back against the bus as it pulled away.

Once my friend Ward didn't make it out the door in time, so his mom — dressed in a housecoat, rollers and yellow fluffy slippers — jumped in her car and drove him to the next stop on our route. The abject terror on Ward's face, as his mom walked him over to the bus, made Shelley Duvall's work in "The Shining" look subtle by comparison.

Shelley Duvall in a scene from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining

In the summers I was up early because my Uncle Kay rolled up just as the sun was rising to take everyone to the tobacco field. Somehow, around 10 of us piled in the back of an ancient pickup truck that would then barrel down dirt roads with more holes in them than a Jussie Smollett story.

Occasionally, someone would be thrown from the truck and shoulder-roll a few hundred yards, but they’d just rub some dirt on it and hop back in the truck … it was just business.

It would be easy to string together a few paragraphs about having to drag the kids out of bed every morning, but to be honest they know what to do and get on with it. TD#2 wakes up as if she's been on an IV of Mountain Dew all night, whereas TD#1 has to communicate via a series of hand-signals, blinks and grunts until 8 a.m.

Jon Dawson has one of each in daughter form.  / Image from YouTube

Jon Dawson has one of each in daughter form. / Image from YouTube

TD#2's warm front of bubbliness often collides with TD#1's cold front of contained malice, creating a multi-hued rainbow of passive-aggressive compliance and overabundance of enthusiasm. We should have named them Felix and Oscar.

Other than her taste in men, The Wife is pretty smart. This is good for the kids since their homework is pretty demanding while I need to call in the National Guard to open a bag of M&Ms.

Any day now, I expect to come home to find The Wife helping one of our kids write a paper on why antimatter actually matters. TD#1 plans to build a particle accelerator for her science project this year. My greatest science project was a study on which brands of bubble gum could also be used as orthotic foot inserts.

Turns out Hubba Bubba and Bazooka are a fine substitute for Dr. Scholl’s, while Big Red just gives a good hot foot.

Neuse News columnist Jon Dawson introduces his Air Chew running shoe.

With a week of school under their belts, the kiddos have knocked off the rust and are getting used to their new routine. That first day back there was a little apprehension and a series of pep talks — mainly for me — but we made it.

The only thing that could disrupt the TDs new routine would be a catastrophic hurricane that could shut down the world for a few weeks. Thank goodness there's nothing like that looming out in the Atlantic.

What's really concerning me right now is the lack of bottled water in the grocery stores. Someone should look into that.

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

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