Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Saturday, October 15, 2016


I have always been fairly confident that secretly, I’m possibly the smartest guy I know. It’s really quite a burden I have to bear. I find it extremely hard to believe I have all of these thoughts and beliefs that for some strange reason, the general public just doesn’t comprehend. However, it is good to see the rest of the world is finally catching up to my way of thinking as it pertains to one particular subject — clowns are pure evil. 

Evidently, there are all sorts of creepy clown sightings that are occurring in different places every day. And we’re not just talking about in the United States either. There have also been sightings in Australia and the United Kingdom. Forget about the zombie apocalypse, this clownocalypse sounds like the real deal. 

Coulrophobia is defined as the extreme or irrational fear of clowns. To me, there is absolutely nothing irrational about being freaked out by a clown. In different surveys that I stole, I mean ... researched off of the Internet, the polling firm Rasmussen reported in 2014, 43 percent of Americans “don’t like” clowns. In 2015, the Chapman University Survey of American Fears found clowns were a cause of significant anxiety for 6.8 percent of Americans. That means 93.2 percent of Americans are crazy. 

My earliest recollection of fearing clowns had to do with the portrayal of The Joker by Cesar Romero on the 1960’s “Batman” television show. Some may say Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger played the part better, but neither of them were creepier than Mr. Romero. Because of him, I don’t care much for jokers on playing cards either. 

Ronald McDonald also gives me the heebie jeebies. If it weren’t for two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun, I wouldn’t have any need to visit the Golden Arches. And did you know that television weatherman Willard Scott was the original Ronald McDonald. Willard Scott always made me nervous, even without the makeup. 

Nemo, the menacing Clownfish in Pixar’s horror feature “Finding Nemo,” is the scariest cartoon fish in the history of Hollywood. Flippers of unequal size just aren’t right. 

While we’re on the subject of animated terror, Krusty the Clown is probably my least favorite Simpson’s character. I cringe and avert my head in fear during his on-screen cavorting with Bart and Homer. 

And finally, on the subject of why I detest clowns, it was during the summer of 1989, while I was serving a stint as a caricature artist at Great America in Gurnee, Ill. I got to inadvertently meet a famous clown. I won’t say his name because that just seems kind of tacky, but his name started with a “B” and rhymes with “ozo.” He had a special appearance at the park that day, and I didn’t even know that he was there or I would have been much more careful. 

I had gone to lunch that particular day and had passed through one of the gates to one of the “employee only” parts of the park when I witnessed the blood-curdling sight. There he was, not 10 feet from me, in full clown regalia, plopped down on the cement curb, puffing away on a Marlboro. And by the amount of smashed butts by his big shiny shoes, he’d been there awhile. 

From their grease-painted faces, with bright, flaming hair, down to those over-sized shoes, squirty lapel flowers and ridiculously small cars, I do not like clowns or anything clown-like in any way. My fight-or-flight senses immediately take over. I either want to run, screaming like a little girl or punch them square in their crimson red, bulbous noses. For the record, mimes are weird too. 

But maybe that’s just me. It’s strange how clowns can inspire raucous laughter in some people while bringing spine-tingling terror to the hearts of others like myself. Take the other night for instance. My wife was in the living room watching what I thought was one of her girly television shows while I sat out on the porch flipping channels, cursing between baseball and football games. Out of nowhere, I suddenly heard her spasming in uncontrollable giggles. During a commercial, I had to go find out just what her deal was. 

As I strolled into the room, I audibly gasped in horror at what I saw on the television screen. There they were, not just one, but two of the most frightening clowns the world has ever seen. They were prowling around on their stage contorting their scary faces and uttering evil clown noises through their evil clown mouths. It was weird, my wife thought that they were hilarious, and I was scared to death. 

And I really don’t want either one of them to be president. 

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

Monday, September 5, 2016



Saturday, July 30, 2016


As I write this, global warming is apparently taking place somewhere in my armpit region because there is a terrifying stench wafting past my nostrils. A smell so bad that I can only compare it to possibly a dead mouse or my wife cooking eggs on Easter morning. I stink. 

The heat is even getting to our dog, Norman. As I glance down from the keyboard, I see him laying on his back napping, with all four legs pointed toward the ceiling like he’s airing out his nether regions. As he pants in his sleep, about a foot and a half of his pink tongue is uncoiled on the floor beside his face. He’s quite the sight. 

Last Sunday, I was at a family picnic. It was so hot and humid that afternoon, the lemon bars with powdered sugar that someone brought kind of melted into a pile of congealed goodness. There was a little bit of a breeze, but it was just hot air blowing on us. It was miserable. 

Just as my brother-in-law and I were discussing our uncomfortable situation, a bright yellow school bus pulled up nearby. We both became a little more comfortable when we saw a group of dirty, sweaty young detasslers come dripping off of that bus. Those poor kids were the definition of hot. 

I don’t do as well in hot, humid weather as I used to. Seeing those young people getting off of that bus got me to thinking about some of the hot, miserable jobs I had as a kid and how there is no possible way I could do those jobs now if I had to. 

I grew up on a farm, and I got to do some pretty nasty things during the dog days of July and August. I remember walking acres and acres of soybeans. I remember painting houses and barns with my dad where the reflection of the sun off of the building practically cooked you. I recall shoveling pig manure in temperatures that had to rival the very bowels of Hell. 

Back in high school, I used to help bale a lot of hay and straw for local farmers. I worked on a crew with two other guys. Kevin owned the tractor, hay baler and racks, and he would hire me and this other guy, Chris, to ride on the rack and stack bales. We’d usually have to put them up in the barn too. It was always a hot, miserable job. But nothing compares to a particular four-day period back in the summer of 1982. 

I don’t remember what the going rate was that farmers were paying us back in those days, but both Chris and I needed money. We both were high-schoolers with cars. I needed cash for sound system improvements to my 1973 bright yellow Volkswagen Beetle, such as the Kraco car stereo from K-Mart. Chris had to make installment payments to the Bondo company so he could keep filling the rusted-out areas of his silver Ford Mustang. 

This one particular field of hay was worse than all of the others put together. I don’t know how many acres it was. (Possibly a million, but that’s just a guess.) It was located in this valley and surrounded by trees so that no breeze could get in there. As thick as the mowed hay was, and the sheer size of the field, Kevin told us we’d be in that field for probably at least a couple of afternoons. Chris and I saw dollar signs. 

That Monday, when we first started, despite the sun-drenched heat, Chis and I were both full of youthful exuberance in the fact that we were both going to make some money. But as the day drug on, we soon realized the dire situation we were in. Due to the humidity in the air, and the amount of damp, heavy hay, the tractor and baler could no more than crawl through the field so that we wouldn’t break down. Sometimes it seemed as though it took five minutes to go 5 feet. And then we’d have breakdowns anyway, mostly because the wet hay would clog up the baler. 

After that first day, we’d barely put a dent in that field. It just got hotter after that. I’ve got to believe it was in the mid- to upper-90s the rest of the week. After Day 2, we weren’t halfway done. I was praying Dad had some hog manure he needed shoveled. 

By the midway point of Day 3, Chris and I were hallucinating while we balanced on that rack, bouncing across that breeze-less field. We would tell each other the stupidest jokes and laugh at the dumbest things just to keep our sanity. More than once, one of us would have to grab the other to keep from falling off the rack due to sweaty exhaustion. 

On Day 4 of this two-day job, the end of the field was finally in our grasp. As we were finishing up that last rack, the farmer that owned the field brought us all out some Pepsi and his checkbook. With the sweat dripping down our dirty faces, I think that we liked the soda better than we did the money. 

Sometimes, I remember some pretty dumb things, so I texted Kevin to see if he had any recollection of this rather ordinary event that happened over 30 years ago. He texted back that yes he did remember. He informed me that we racked 8,566 bales in those four days and 2,257 on our biggest day. 

And I thought I remembered weird stuff. 

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

Friday, July 22, 2016

Duck Day Afternoon

It is well-known and indisputable fact that ducks are the fourth most terrifying member of the fowl family, following in order, chickens, turkeys and geese. After reading the column that you are poised on the precipice of, they might move up the pecking order. 

It started out as a regular, normal Friday. The guy I work with had asked me if I would like to each lunch with him over at his parents’ house. Not to be rude or pass up a free meal, I tagged along. The lunch crowd consisted of myself, my buddy, his son, mother and father. 

Toward the end of the meal, people started talking about the ducks that were paddling around out on the pond in front of their house. I was well aware of this flock. My buddy had gotten them when they were mere ducklings. He kept them over by the shop out of which we work. He had to feed and water them, and I can still recall their little fuzzy yellow bodies strutting around under the heat-producing light bulbs. 

Once the young birds got to a certain age, they were transported over to the pond. The plan was to let them live their lives on the water until it was time to round them up and take them to a guy who was going to make them delicious. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten duck, but my buddy’s family says they’re really good. 

The flock started out with 23 young ducks when they came over to the pond. Evidently, coyotes think that ducks are delicious also because in a short amount of time, the group of birds had been thinned down to 17. 

My friend’s family got the idea that they needed to take the 17 remaining birds back to the protection of a fenced-in pasture. They just weren’t sure on the best way to move the ducks. I suggested that my friend’s mom dress up in a duck suit, quack a few times and maybe the birds would follow her. She looked at me, and I could tell I’d better plan on getting my own meals for the near future. 

After several seconds and possibly a few minutes of careful deliberation, they decided to have a good old-fashioned duck roundup. My pal asked me if I wanted to help. Since I’m always looking for goofy material to fill this column with, I smiled and said, “I’m in.” 

So there were the five of us exiting the house to go do battle with the fearsome group of 17 white-feathered ducks. We brought the tools of modern warfare with us. On our side we had a Ford truck, golf cart, one small rowboat, a large portable dog kennel and a good-sized fishing net. 

The entire flock was located floating under the sweeping branches of a willow tree on the northeast side of the pond. The plan was for my buddy to attack the flock from the water in the small rowboat and push them onto the shore where the rest of us would surround the ducks and capture them in a pincer-like movement. My friend’s son was the one with the big net, so he was doing most of the catching. He has youth on his side. 

I must admit while there was a large group of the quacking birds, capturing one or two didn’t seem too hard. As they were detained, it became my job to jail them in the portable dog kennel. I tried to explain to the angry birds that we were doing this for their own good, but they wouldn’t listen. As the imprisoned population grew, they quacked at me with disdain in their voices. They could sense the fear in my eyes. 

The ducks kept doing the same thing. The boat would chase them on shore; they would circle around the willow; and we would pluck one or two out of the crowd. We had fairly good luck until we got to the last duck. Every time we encircled him, he somehow would break through our lines and make it back to the water. He was crafty. 

I originally joined this mission strictly as an observer. As time went on, I found myself becoming more deeply entrenched in the conflict. By the end, I wanted that duck just as bad as the rest. War can play games with one’s psyche. 

During one of our last attempts to capture the beast, I somehow found myself down by the water’s edge as the last line of defense. As I stood on the beach, the bird came rushing at me. 

You don’t know what pure terror feels like until you see white-winged, quacking furry flapping its way directly at you. I swallowed my fear, planted my feet and prepared to catch the duck being chased by the kid with the net. The duck head-faked us to the right and made a quick juke to the left. We both lunged. 

I’d like to say that I caught that duck that day. I’d like to say that I didn’t slip and fall on the feces-slickened shore that day. I’d like to say that my good friend didn’t almost fall out of his stupid little rowboat from laughing at me. There are so many things I’d like to say. 

All of this happened about a month ago. If you drive by that pond today, you’ll still see a single white duck swimming proudly underneath a willow tree. Every time I see him, I swear that he points at me and laughs. 

Oh well. Coyotes gotta eat too. 

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

Monday, July 18, 2016

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Blah blah blah blah blah

One word. That’s all I’m asking for. Just one lousy word. That’s usually all it takes for me to get inspired to start writing one of these goofy columns. But right now, it’s nine o’clock on the night before my morning deadline, and I can’t figure out what the word is.

Allow me to let you in on the secret of how I’ve been writing one of these dumb things every other week for the past four years. For the most part, I don’t do a darn thing. Normally I rely on my friends, family or pets to do something or for the right circumstances to occur, and I make a mountain out of a molehill about the situation. As my dad once said, “I don’t know how you can write so much without ever really saying anything.” I take it as a compliment.

Granted, many of these columns are pretty weak and don’t have much societal impact. But I don’t care. I’m just shooting for somewhere between 700 to 950 words, and I’m good to go. The little word counter thingy on my computer says I’m only at 196 words right now. That’s very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very disappointing. 210 words.

On Mondays of the weeks when one of these things is due, I start paying attention to my surroundings and hope that a little bit of inspiration takes hold. If nothing happens by Wednesday, I start getting a little nervous. By Thursday, I’m usually begging my friends and family to do something stupid, so I can write about it. I’ve been staring at my wife for about an hour and half now. She hasn’t done anything that can even be labeled “slightly ignorant.” She can’t hold out forever, but I’m running out of time. 305.

This last couple of weeks have been kind of a creative dry spell for me. I haven’t had many good, original ideas about anything. In fact the only halfway decent comic strip idea I’ve had recently has to do with trumpeter swans and Dizzy Gillespie. Unfortunately, that idea came to me while I was listening to the sermon at church last week. I think that I can make it into a fairly funny cartoon, but I don’t know if it’s worth risking eternal damnation. 390.

It’s graduation season, so maybe I could dole out some words of wisdom to the young people who will be getting their diplomas. What should I tell them? The only piece of advice that I wish that someone would have bestowed upon me is that nothing good can happen from wearing really, really white underwear. It can only go downhill after the initial usage. And oh yeah, don’t do drugs. 461.

I could go on and on about our new dog named Norman, but it seems I write way too much about dogs, cats, birds, fish, raccoons, pigs and Japanese Beetles. (Honestly, every now and then, I actually do interact with real live humans.) 506.

My daughter thinks I should talk about how she helped my mom in doing her deaconess job at church. You see, the deaconess at our church is in charge of preparing and cleaning up after communion every week. Our church uses grape juice instead of wine and whatever goes unused during the Sunday morning service, gets dumped down the drain. My daughter thought that was a waste, so she helped my mom out by drinking the excess juice out of the itty bitty glasses. I watched as she drank down at least a dozen of the little cups. From behind, it looked like she was doing shots at the bar. At least I’ll have somebody to enjoy eternal damnation with. No, I don’t think that I should probably write about that. 639.

If I wanted to do something that a real editorial page columnist would do, I would write about the upcoming presidential election. I could pontificate about my feelings about the candidates and who I think would do the very best job in that position. So at this time, I would like to throw all of my undying political support behind ... 701.

I’d better wrap it up now. No need to go nuts. War and Peace has already been written.

Well what do you know? It looks like Dad is right.

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