Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Curious Case of Dick Hertz from Holden

In the few short days since the ill-fated column in which we thoughtlessly mentioned the urban-legendary “Dick Hertz from Holden” in passing, we have been bombarded by angry phone calls and e-mail messages1 from angry residents of Holden, Massachusetts, who complained that we’d done nothing but help perpetuate a ridiculous myth about their awful little town’s most famous non-resident.

In our defense, we made it quite clear in the footnotes to the aforementioned column that we did not believe there ever was a Dick Hertz from Holden, and even provided a link to a website to support that statement.2 Of course, we should have known better than to assume that the average reader would bother checking the footnotes.3 

In an attempt to put this myth to rest once and for all, the Bowling in the Dark Investigative Reporting Unit has spared no expense in uncovering details of the life of the mysterious and elusive Dick Hertz. Solid information was hard to come by; the often-hidden Dick Hertz has lived a life of secrecy, punctuated by broad travels and a multitude of jobs:

  • 1958: born Peter Hangsleaux, Loveladies, New Jersey.
  • 1958–1975: early childhood in nearby Buttzville.
  • 1976: frustrated with a childhood full snickering and snide penis jokes, has name legally changed to Peter Fitzgerald.
  • 1977: moves to Bumpass, Virginia, to work as a plumber’s apprentice. Employer documentation recovered by Bowling in the Dark investigators praises young Fitzgerald’s aptitude for laying pipe.
  • 1980: with penis-centric teasing having apparently returned to an unbearable level, changes name to Gerald Fitzwilliam.
  • 1982: flees to the United Kingdom in hopes of finding dignity among the more proper English. According to tax records, his places of residence include Hooker Road, Norwich; Backside Lane, Oxfordshire; Wham Bottom Lane, Lancashire; Spanker Lane, Derbyshire; Fanny Avenue, Derbyshire; and Scratchy Bottom, Dorset.
  • 1989: returns to United States as Dick Fitzwell.
  • 1996: first recorded appearance of the Dick Hertz. Residence: Stony Bottom, West Virginia.
  • 1999: moves to Ding Dong, Texas. Credit card receipts collected show an unhealthy appetite for meals from Arlington’s In-N-Out Burger.
  • 2002: Dick Hertz surfaces for a time at a Wahoo, Nebraska, construction company, having been hired to operate a pile driver.
It is after 2002 that the man last known as Dick Hertz from Wahoo vanishes without a trace. Claims that he has been spotted near Fuk Man Road, Hong Kong, appear to be unreliable, as are the reports that he returned to the United Kingdom and is living in Wetwang, North Humberside, or Dorking, Surrey. He appears to have cancelled his credit cards, given up on writing checks or establishing a permanent residence, and chosen a life of quiet solitude, like Greta Garbo except with a much shittier name. 

The Bowling in the Dark Investigative Reporting Unit has decided that to lengthen its search for the obviously tormented Dick Hertz would cause nothing but further discomfort, and to continue pounding on Dick Hertz, merely to supply comedic fodder for an extended dick joke, would be cruel and unethical. However, based on his widespread travels and extensive work experience, we strongly suspect that Dick Hertz now hangs his hat in one of the following three places:


Climax, Georgia. We were originally going make a joke about
“Dick Hertz from Macon Georgia” until this town presented itself.

Intercourse, Pennsylvania.

Fucking, Austria. If there is any one time to believe that we
absolutely are not making something up, let now be that time.

1. Of course we haven’t, we’re just making this up.
2. The website in question is called Legend Tripping. Despite its apparent belief in UFOs, magic, monsters, and the paranormal—subjects of its posts include but are not limited to the chupacabra, the “marsh people of Barnstable, Massacusetts,” and probably any other flavor of urban-legend bullshit that comes down the pike—it seems perfectly credible on this completely non-paranormal bit of simple investigation.
3. As any University of Colorado investigatory committee will tell you, hardly anybody pays attention to footnotes.



  1. It's possible that Mr. Hertz has left our hemisphere entirely, and is now residing in Geddidon, Israel.

    Sadly, no such place exists, or we'd be living there, too.

  2. We desperately scoured the internet in the hopes of learning that "Wakinit"—or something similar—was a Native American word, and that somebody had named a town or county after it. No such luck.