Saturday, April 1, 2017

Boogie man

Well, if nobody else is going to make a big deal out of it, I guess that it’s up to me to bring this travesty to the nation’s attention. For some reason, unknown to most intelligent people, I have once again been passed over by the selection committee at “Dancing With The Stars.” I know, I can’t believe it either. 

“Dancing With The Stars” has become a staple at my house. My wife and daughter watch it religiously. I usually purposely miss watching it with them because I become somewhat of a stickler when it comes to judging the Paso Doble and especially the Viennese Waltz. I don’t want to hinder my family’s interest in dance by appearing too critical of the art form. That would just be wrong. 

However, my wife “made” me sit and watch the show with her the other night. Little does she know, and let’s keep this just between you and me, nobody has to “make” me watch “Dancing With The Stars.” Nope, I was born with a song in my heart and a twinkle in my toes. Not many know the 1977 movie “Saturday Night Fever” was based loosely on my life. Especially that part when Vinnie Barbarino carries those cans of paint down the street. I do that all the time. 

I just simply adore dancing of all kinds. Be it ballroom, hip-hop, ballet, tap, country-line, conga-line, break, macarena, flamenco, river, the Lindy, the Charleston, the Moon Walk, the Twist ... I just love it all. I’ve always been known to wiggle my groove thing whenever the opportunity presents itself — birthday parties, anniversaries, funerals, prostate examinations … you name it, and I’m out there shaking my tail feather. 

Movies like “Dirty Dancing,” “Footloose” and “Flashdance” really speak to me. When that bouncer from “Roadhouse” says, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner,” I know exactly what he’s talking about. Sometimes, late at night, when everyone else is asleep, I’ll pretend I’m Kevin Bacon and strap on my Sony Walkman and go dance on the hood of my yellow Volkswagen Beetle. And then there are those times I put on my leg warmers, hang a bucket of water from the ceiling, lean back in a chair and let the liquid cascade over my body. Oh what a feeling! 

When I’m out on the dance floor shaking what my mama gave me, I enter another world. Many times in the past, especially at wedding receptions, I’ve disguised my dancing skills by playing a part I like to call, “stumbly, bumbly, kinda-drunk, middle-aged, white guy.” I play this part so others won’t be intimidated by my artistic styling. This calls for me to pretty much stand in one spot on the dance floor and slowly rotate my torso to the left and right while having my arms bent at 90-degree angles. Sometimes I push the limits by sticking my thumbs out like Fonzie. It also usually involves me bobbing my head and uttering, “Oh yeah” whenever the DJ plays anything by Meat Loaf or from the Blues Brothers soundtrack. I refuse to do the Hokey-Pokey. I believe that it is beneath me. The Chicken Dance, however, is another matter. 

My daughter has taken dance classes for several years of her young life, so it’s kind of nice to see that my love for dance will live on long after I’m gone. Several times I have thought about signing my wife and I up for some ballroom dance lessons to attempt to instill into her just some of the passion that I have for this art form. But then I realize it’s probably a waste of time. Such is the choreography of my life. 

Other than dancing, the only thing that I like more is when this column comes out on April Fool’s Day. It practically writes itself. 

You can contact Wallace at You can follow him on his blog at

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Nothing is Not Something by Greg Wallace via @GoComics

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Frozen Chickens

As a matter of full disclosure, I must admit to you, that I am writing this column under acute and extreme duress. I’m sick. I’m sicker than sick. My co-worker scoffs at the idea and teasingly tells me it’s just a “man-cold.” She doesn’t know what she’s talking about. I’m running a temperature of practically 99 degrees. Fahrenheit. She just had a baby, so what does she know about pain and suffering?
But I digress. Here I sit on the end of the couch, in my NyQuil-addled state, trying to form words into cohesive sentences. As I shiver and sniffle with what is quite possibly the mere beginnings of bubonic-ebola fever, my daughter has taken control of the television remote. I can’t put up much of a fight in my weakened condition, so we end up watching … “Titanic.”

In case you’re one of the two people in the universe who hasn’t seen it, I don’t want to spoil “Titanic” for you, but you should know some of the basic premise. There’s a boat, a guy named Jack, a girl named Rose and some guy that plays Victor on one of those soap operas my wife watches during the summer. At the end, you get to see some old lady’s naked toes, hence the PG-13 rating. There’s also an iceberg that hits the boat and forces the seven stranded castaways to make the very best of their tropic island nest. Wait … that might be the NyQuil talking.

But I digress. As I sat there watching Rose float along nicely on that huge, spacious, buoyant, wooden door while her lover Jack turns blue while treading water in the icy depths of the North Atlantic, I couldn’t help but think of one thing — I work with a bunch of crazy people. Kind-hearted folks, but crazy nonetheless.

You see, when I’m not living the life of devil-may-care luxury as a world-famous, bi-weekly, small-town newspaper columnist, I can usually be found at my real job at MTM Recognition in Princeton, Illinois. I’ve only been there a little while, so I’m still the dumb new guy. My hope is to work there long enough to someday become the dumb old guy. My dreams aren’t as ambitious as they used to be.

A while back, some of my co-workers decided to form a polar bear plunge team. I had heard of polar bear plunges before. It’s when you chop a hole in a frozen lake or pond and then proceed to immerse your body in the near-freezing liquid. I only thought that 100-year-old Norwegian guys did this to jumpstart their hearts every morning. Little did I ever imagine that I would work in the midst of people who would do this voluntarily.

But they’re doing it. On the morning of Saturday, Feb. 25, MTM will be sponsoring a team of lunatics … I mean … people, to splash into the frigid depths of Lake Mendota in Mendota, Illinois. They have even picked out an appropriate moniker to call themselves — The MTM Frozen Chickens. I have heard something about the apparel they plan to adorn themselves with that day. There are rumors about chicken masks, spray-painted orange shoes, and leggings made to look like chicken legs. Did I mention that they might be crazy?

But they are being crazy for a very good reason. This Polar Bear Plunge is a part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run  which is the largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle for Special Olympics. MTM is not the only company to be represented. A bevy of other teams of equally crazy people will also be entering the icy waters. It should be a spectacle to behold.

One of the team members even approached me about being on the MTM team. As much as I like to support a good cause such as this, I had to decline. I’m an old man with high blood pressure and very little determination. And with this bout of bubonic-ebola fever, who knows if I’ll even be alive by next week. I told them that instead, maybe I would write some nice words to help promote them and the event. And then I proceeded to call them crazy in every possible way. Oops.

In doing some research for this column, something that I never ever do, I got to discover some pretty cool stuff about the company that I work for. For more than 26 years, MTM has played a part in Special Olympics. MTM sponsors the coveted World and National Games medals for Special Olympics and makes all the Special Olympics medals and ribbons used within the United States. MTM also creates awesome athlete rings here in Princeton and Torch Run Hall of Fame rings as well. The company even makes the torches that are used to light the flame of hope all over the world! How cool is that?

But I digress. If you’re looking for something to do next Saturday, wander over to Mendota and help support a good cause. The athletes who benefit from Special Olympics will truly appreciate it. Awwwww, who am I kidding? When you see the smiles on the faces of the Special Olympic athletes, we all benefit. So come on out and gawk at the crazy people taking part in the Mendota Polar Bear Plunge!

If the nice weather we’ve been enjoying persists, the water might not be quite as cold as one would have expected when all of these crazy folks signed on for this event. But I’m betting that the water will still be cold enough to shrivel up my … determination.

You can contact Wallace at You can follow him on his blog at

Thursday, February 2, 2017