Jon Dawson: Gender-reveal party used to scam Greene County grandma

Last Saturday The Wife and I attended a gender-reveal party in Hookerton, although Google Maps interpreted “Hugo Road” as “Hugo Church Road” and we nearly ended up in Ontario.

In case you don’t know, Jonathan Massey and I are contributors to the Bryan Hanks Radio Show (see the ad below). Regular listeners to the program will know that Massey is on the cusp of becoming a father. If he plays his cards right, he and the baby can be potty trained simultaneously.

The gender-reveal party we attended last week was not my first. When my two Tax Deductions were born we had the gender reveal party at the hospital. It consisted of the doctor saying “it’s a girl” and handing us a bill before the cord was cut. 

Years ago Hanks and I worked at a local newspaper with Massey’s mother. Occasionally young Jonathan Massey would visit the office, and his antics immediately won over the entire staff. Being the only 8-year-old anyone could remember with a five o’clock shadow and the ability to eat corn on the cob from the inside out, Massey got his first paying job alphabetizing Bryan Hanks’ M&Ms. Later on Massey graduated to organizing Hanks’ Golden Girls Fan Club dinners and picking the green clovers out of his Lucky Charms cereal.

“Hanks is lachanophobic and wants nothing to do with any vegetable – even fake ones,” Massey said. “Merely mentioning asparagus makes the man dyspeptic.”

A byproduct of Massey’s presence at the office was that his grandma would occasionally bring cake to the office. Not a prefab, box-mix cake, but a made from scratch, pineapple/sour cream concoction that could make Adam leave Eve.

Most newspaper journalists are paid less than ice salesmen in Antarctica, so free food was a big deal. The pay got so bad at one point poultry trucks were forced to reroute away from our building as a precaution.

While many saw the gender-reveal party as a way to celebrate a new life, Hanks and I used it as an opportunity to finagle another cake out of Massey’s grandma. 

It was a simple scam, really. I innocently asked Massey what kind of cake his grandma used to make for the office. He then asked her, which inspired her to make one. Judge if you will, but I regret nothing. I pay my taxes, I give “thank you” waves in traffic and I return shopping carts. I deserved this cake.

The Bryan Hanks Show airs on 960-AM in Kinston, and daily at 7 a.m. & 3 p.m. It also airs on the suite of stations in New Bern and Greenville (107.5-FM) at 6 p.m.

While most of the partygoers enjoyed their pink and blue cupcakes, Hanks, The Wife, and I were each given a hunk of grandma’s cake roughly the size of a car battery. The Wife and I ate a portion of ours and brought the rest home to our two Tax Deductions. Hanks, on the other hand, offered to “look after” our leftover cake until it was time to leave. We declined.

As the anticipation grew for the gender reveal, Massey’s beautiful wife (who for obvious reasons asked to remain anonymous) was glowing. Even when I handed her a pamphlet on annulment she beamed pure joy. She was unfazed when Hanks pretended to check Massey’s beard for ticks and just moderately embarrassed when he found a few. 

Through a series of confetti cannons (see video below), the gender was revealed as female. Cheers, tears, and a few dozen proclamations of “I TOLD you it was going to be a girl!” were uttered. In all honesty, it was almost too much to take in. Our very own Jonathan Massey – a man who once rendered a mugger unconscious by holding the mouth of his shoe up to the attacker’s face – was going to be a father. 

In no time at all, Massey will be attending pretend tea parties with his daughter and braiding her hair – two things he’s had plenty of practice at while working for Bryan Hanks. It’s scary being a parent, but Massey married well, and his beard is thick enough to absorb any airborne Gerber product flung in his general direction.

Jon Dawson’s books available at

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