Bob Taylor Offered Whimsical Expose on Origin of The Comet Newspaper

Bob Taylor used to be the editor of Johnson City's The  Comet newspaper. An old saying that pertains to gifted writers urges these folks to keep their files wet continually for the specific purpose of preventing spontaneous combustion from their “lightning streaks of rhetoric.”

The name “Comet” came about by accident. A group of men consisting of Cy Lyle, Bob Burrow and Bob Taylor along with a half-dozen country squires, utilized because of their high social standing in the city, was organized to found a newspaper. In their initial meeting, they established a list of preliminaries, such as determining an appropriate name for the new publication.

One of the squires immediately suggested that the name be “The Hurrold.” It was adopted by acclamation, after which all of the squires were put to work on a committee to draft a prospectus.

The squires began work on it on it as a matter of policy. They were instructed to comb out any unbecoming kinks in it and protect the English language from insult.

The committee finally submitted a wonderful, yet fearful document, using the odd spelling, “Hurrold,” so named because that was exactly how nearby mountain people pronounced it.

The syndicate then met to consider it, at which time it was passed around, admired and corrected with a few frills. However, one of the committee members startled the syndicate by recycling the issue saying: “Boys, danged if I b'leeve that 'ar goldurned name's spelt right. She looks kinder unnatural-like somehow.”

They passed the prospectus around, shook their heads over it and concurred that indeed something was wrong with it, but they could not see eye-to-eye just what it was. Soon it flashed in like a revelation on Squire Huffaker's mind: “I've got her, boys. There's just too many durned r's in it.”

The assemblage immediately saw it and were puzzled that it too so long for them to spot it. However, when it came to correcting their error, Squire Hullaker paused, bit his pencil contemplatively and muddied the water by uttering: “Lookee here, fellers. Which one of these dodbusted “r's” ought to come out, the first one or the second? I'll be grab-snatched if I can tell.”

The syndicate bumped their heads together again and a vexed and troubled look crept in and settled on their assembled countenance. Some fervently demanded that the first “r” be stricken out while others insisted on the second one. Soon the discussion waxed hot and ended in a tie that busted up the syndicate; they were at an impasse.

Bob Burrow and Bob Taylor, not to show defeat,  regrouped and quickly came up with a new name for the publication. The problem of one or two “r's” was abruptly put to rest when they chose another designation, “The Comet.” Although it appeared that they had resolved the issue, success did not arrive immediately. It seems that the two men soon got into an argument as to whether the new name should be spelled with one “m” (Comet) or two (Commet). If it were two, that lead into a deeper discussion as to whether to add the second “m” before of after the first “m.” The silence of impasse again arrived.

Fortunately, the problem was adjusted by the two men without unkind words or bloodshed. When the syndicate met, Gov. Taylor abruptly excused himself from the meeting and Bob Burrow managed to feel a little bit under the weather. Without fuss or fanfare, the newspaper was named “The Comet.” No mention was made of the “mm” option.

What else would we expect coming from a man with such exhaustive humor as Bob Taylor. I hope Bob kept his files continually wet while writing that expose.