McKeithan column

Published 10:39 pm Sunday, September 14, 2008

By Staff
Dancing ‘judge’ not feeling charitable
Resents not being invited to bust-a-move
Tomorrow night I am afforded the opportunity to criticize people on something I know absolutely nothing about — their dancing skills. Unlike the fraud I perpetrate daily here at the WDN, I don’t even have to PRETEND to have a clue.
The much-anticipated “Dancing with OUR Stars” event will finally take place on the Turnage Theater stage. Because this sold-out event can’t be attended by most of our readers, allow me to give you a preview of what shall take place.
I will take full advantage of the chance to publicly humiliate people who have the guts to strut-their-stuffs for a worthwhile charity. These brave dancers will be embarrassed at my hand, much as I feel each time this column is published. At last, others will learn what it’s like to walk a mile in my (dance) shoes.
By what authority have I been bestowed such responsibility? A very nice lady with Eagle’s Wings — the organizer of the event — asked me to be one of the panelists who will critique the dancers. Critique I shall.
I’m going to be Don Rickles with hair (plugs).
You see, I have a chip on my shoulder. I have been quietly seething for months because I WAS NOT ASKED TO DANCE! Is it possible that rumors of my infamous “slow dance shuffle” disqualified me? Is there a video on YouTube of my turn as a Blues Brother at the ’87 United Media Christmas party in New York City? (Incidentally, I was not asked to jump on stage with the band and do such. I left the company shortly thereafter.) Nonsense. They can’t POSSIBLY know how bad a dancer I am.
So, why not ask me?
I’ll tell you why — politics. I guess I’m not an “A list” local celebrity. They must have gone through thousands of local “stars” before my name even came up as a panelist. (I guess Hood turned it down.) I am the lone “Z list” celebrity representative involved in this thing (I’ll represent the other two of you proudly).
I resent not being invited to shake my groove-thang. I am jealous of the dancers and I plan to take it out on them tomorrow night.
Though organizers will probably deny it, I am expected to be Washington’s own Simon Cowell. I’m even going to fake a British accent. (I’ll probably sound like Gomer Pyle doing Winston Churchill.) As such, if I say anything mean, inappropriate or generally rude — I’m just playing my role. I will be caustic, abrasive, abusive, vile, petty and obtuse.
After each of my scathing rants, I will bask in the awkward silence sure to fill the Turnage Theater. I will sit there with a self-important smile as the gasps subside and people shift uncomfortably in their seats.
I know what you’re thinking: Ray, Ray, Ray — you’re missing the entire point of this event; to celebrate the wonderful work that Eagle’s Wings does ministering to Beaufort County citizens in need.
Actually, I am NOT missing the point. I hope this event raises gazillions of dollars. I am in full support of everything it represents. I even feel guilty for demanding a $3,000 appearance fee (I settled for $2,000).
But, I am weak and petty — a bad seed. I fully expect my venomous vitriol to unite the crowd against a shared enemy … me. Other judges will be compelled to heap praise and adulation upon whimpering dancers to offset my negativity and viciousness. Good will triumph over Evil and the world will be a better place.
By venting, I will benefit from the cathartic release of pent-up resentment. Think of the cheers and the positive vibe that will overtake the venue after I am booed out of the joint and thrown onto the sidewalk. Everyone wins!
My disgrace will have served a greater good.
History will remember me fondly, even if the 450 attendees do not. It’s a sacrifice I am willing to make, because I’m not spiteful.
So — dancers — as they say in show business: “Break a leg.”
Ray McKeithan is associate publisher of the Washington Daily News and one of the “cool guys” who stands in the corner with his friends at dances. You’ll never catch him dancing “the shag,” “the hustle,” “the bump” or ANY line dance … ever. He has been known, however, to do the stand-in-one-place-slow-dance if he was smitten with a girl. (That’s how he won his beautiful wife’s heart.) If you have questions or comments about operations, policies or content in the WDN, please send an email to: or call 252-940-4205.