The Unofficial Origin of Expressions #1 – Thomas, Richard and Harold
John was a kind and generous man. He had little, but the little he had he was always willing to share. His wife Beatrice on the other hand was far more protective of their scarce resources. Having grandparents who survived the great depression and parents who lived through the mild panic attack, she was decidedly careful about money. John however, was undecidedly uncareful. Beatrice understood that money didn’t grow on trees, a lesson clearly learned when their money tree was destroyed in the great currency storm of ’07. They had fallen on hard times and were struggling to get by. That is why she became increasingly irate as one knock on the door looking for help turned into three progressively larger and stranger requests.
The first knock was from a kindly young man named Thomas. He explained that his car had run out of gas a mile down the road. John didn’t hesitate to give the man his spare gasoline canister he kept in the shed for emergencies. That didn’t bother Beatrice greatly, however she was a bit concerned when Jonathan also gave poor Thomas, who he thought looked hungry, the lunch that Beatrice had just prepared to take with him. “That’s the last spam burger! ” she scolded John. But he knew it was better to give than to receive, even when it came to spam.
Not five minutes later, as Beatrice scrounged through the cupboard, cobbling together a relish and soy sauce sandwich, with packets reminiscent of better days, there was another knock on the door. This time, a gentleman who introduced himself as Richard, but Beatrice would later claim was really a dick, stumbled into the house, bloodied and beaten. He explained that he had been roughed-up by a couple of hoonigans (he was unable to properly pronounce the letter “l” due to swelling in his tongue). He was on his way to a job interview for a position with the local bank he desperately needed in order to support his family, following a layoff from his previous position as a used carp salesmen. The market for previously owned fish just wasn’t what it used to be. John cleaned Richard up and offered him his Sunday suit. “Sunday suit?” Beatrice questioned. “It’s your 365-days-a-year suit!”, rationalizing that he had no other decent clothes. “What will you wear at the funeral/ice cream parlour?”, she questioned him questioningly. “I’ll figure something out” he replied, more concerned with Richard’s future than his own. Richard put on the new clothes, thanked them profusely, and headed off for the interview, leaving a dreadful mess behind. Beatrice was left to clean up the stains and tattered remnants of his clothes.
By the time of the third knock Beatrice was livid. “We don’t want any!” she bellowed, but John opened the door just as swiftly as before. This time it was their old friend Harold. Now Harold was know to get himself wrapped up in plenty of schemes as well as occasionally in bubble wrap, so it was no surprise to find out he was in trouble. “I owe Big Bert a thousand bucks, and if I don’t pay up today, he says I won’t live to see yesterday!” he blurted out. For most this would be a confusing exchange, however John and Beatrice knew of Harold’s many failed attempts to create a time machine. Now Harold was heavily in debt to the smarmy loan shark who lived on Upagus Road. Despite Beatrice’s protests, John went to get the last of their savings from under their floorboards (the mattress having been sold off months before). Handing over their last thousand dollars, Harold thanked them profusely and shuffled off to Upagus to pay Big Bert.
By this point, Beatrice had had it. “We have nothing left! How could you give away everything we own?”. “These are people in need”, John reasoned, quite reasonably. “Besides, it’s not like I’m giving away our things to every Tom, Dick and H-“. And at that moment Beatrice picked up a copy of Cam J Hamoline’s “Peaceful Conflict Resolution” and clubbed John over the head, knocking him unconscious. Which goes to prove you can’t judge a book by its cover.