I received an email recently that referred to this newspaper as the “Houston Harold.”
It wasn’t the first time I’ve seen Herald misspelled that way, but this time it made my brain juices flow more than before and I started to wonder about who Houston Harold could have been.
The possibilities are plentiful.
He could have been the main character in a John Wayne Western movie. I can just hear The Duke saying, “well now pilgrim, I don’t think there’s gonna be room for the both of us here once you realize who’s in charge. And just to be clear, it ain’t you, and you’d best address me as Mr. Harold.”
He could have been the subject of a sad country song, like the guy in Marty Robbins’ classic, “El Paso.” Poor Harold, who gets shot trying to woo the love of his life, who he’s only met once in a bar.
He could have been a player for the Houston Colt 45s, who joined Major League Baseball as an expansion team in 1962 and became the Houston Astros in 1965. His full name could have been Harold Hillman Huckster Hall, and he would probably have played third base and earned multiple gold gloves while rarely hitting above the Mendoza Line (look it up). His fans could have been members of the unofficial “4-H Club.”
He could have been a 1930s gangster who allegedly evaded federal agents by hiding in run-down barns around Texas County and south central Missouri. His accomplices could have been Licking Larry, Cabool Casey and Summersville Sam, and his arch-rivals could have been Grove Gus, Willow Walt and Ava Abe.
He could have been a sort-of-famous stock car racer who came up short time and again trying to keep pace with the likes of Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough during the formative days of NASCAR. The King, Petty, could have referred to Harold as the guy who was always trying to “get on the freeway by using the off ramp.”
He could have been a world-class billiards player whose efforts (and hustles) rivaled that of famous and notorious pool shark Rudolf Wanderon (a.k.a. “Minnesota Fats”). He could have been best-known for his “backside back-up” trick shot (which incorporates an unorthodox use of the cue stick involving his derriere).
He could have been a renowned snake-oil salesman who traveled the Ozarks in the late 1800s peddling useless liquid he called, “the key that will open the door to your greatest life.”
He could have been a late-1800s politician who spearheaded the rampant cutting down of the vast pine forests of the Ozarks. His slogan could have been “no pine is fine.”
He could have been a character on the TV show, “Better Call Saul,” who helps Jimmy McGill figure out a way to actually make Howard Hamlin allergic to electricity.
He could have been a clown who was actually funny, as opposed to his dour, depressed-looking counterpart, Weary Willie. His favorite shticks could have been juggling goggle-eyes, smashing paw paws with a huge rubber mallet or being ringmaster of a tick circus.
Then again, Houston Harold might just be nothing more than the by-product of a funny misspelling. And I’m pretty sure that’s OK.
Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Email: email@example.com.