Column: Confusing Scott with Scott, but not with Harry

By SCOTT SAALMAN

“Are you Scott Saalman?”

I occasionally field this question posed to me by total strangers.

I have been conditioned over time to respond this way, “Yes, I am Scott Saalman. But you probably are mistaking me for Scott Sollman.” Which is usually the case when people learn my name is Scott Saalman. Our names sound alike, but he’s apparently more popular.

Scott Sollman is a high school sports announcer on the local radio. He also announces Dubois County Bombers games. Scott Sollman does a mean Harry Caray “Take Me Out to The Ballgame” imitation. His shtick is very popular with the populace. I hear about it all the time. Sometimes people refuse to believe I’m not Scott Sollman. They think I’m joking — as if the other Scott is a funny, funny guy. I have been asked to do Harry Caray for people right on the spot. I don’t dare. Even the real Harry Caray sings better than me — and he’s dead. If I sang, it would be Scary Caray.

One time, I invited Scott Sollman to read a column of mine at a Will Read and Sing For Food benefit show. It was similar to this one, explaining how people mistake me for him. He opened the show, reading the piece as if he wrote it. I stayed out of sight. Finally, when he finished, I joined him on stage. I don’t think the audience even got the joke. Most just wondered who the hell I was — at my own show. To this very day, that skit did nothing to stop people from constantly telling me they love listening to me on the radio.

Believe it or not, there is another Scott Saalman out there in the world. I found him on Facebook and reached out. We might be related but we never could figure it out exactly. He is hair-impaired like me. He likes the Cubs — so cue up Harry Caray again. I’m kind of glad we don’t live in the same town. Scott Sollman is enough of a shadow for Scott Saalman to deal with. I can’t imagine adding a second Scott Saalman to the mix.

It’s not that it deflates my ego when people mistake me for Scott Sollman. I know Scott Sollman well enough to know he’s a great community-oriented guy. So, if people think I’m him, that works for me. I haven’t seen his face in the paper’s crime reports yet. Thank goodness. That is when people will assume he is me.

I guess The Herald could run my photo with this column to possibly clear up this 28-year-old craziness, but it would likely get the circulation department up in arms since their goal is to sell papers, not scare readers away.

I ultimately blame my parents for this chronic case of mistaken identity. You see, my real first name is Marion. Marion Scott Saalman. I was baptized Marion the Third. Even my parents, who named me Marion to apparently appease my grandfather (Marion the First), couldn’t bring themselves to call me Marion. Mom says she cried over my Marion name for days — apparently so did I. She wanted to name me Dominic. From Earth day one, I was called by my middle name, never my first name. How weird is that?

Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue” was in heavy rotation on my parents’ stereo in the late ’60s. Maybe dad was using the song to indirectly tell me that he named me Marion just to toughen me up and prepare me for a rough world, just like the dad who named his son Sue did in the song. “It’s the name that helped to make you strong,” the dad tells Sue after their epic barroom brawl. Nice try, dad. The truth is, I was officially named Marion the Third by Marion the Second, who didn’t want to upset Marion the First.

Yes, had my parents stuck with Marion, there likely wouldn’t be this Scott Saalman versus Scott Sollman confusion.

This summer, something rare occurred. Brynne and I exited Denny’s. It was 11 p.m. on a Saturday. I held the door open for an elderly couple also on a Denny’s date. The lady looked at me and asked, “Are you Scott Saalman?” I replied, “Yes, I am.” Then I whispered to Brynne, “OK, here it comes,” expecting the lady to say she listens to me on the radio. Instead, she said, “I always look for your stories in the Herald.”

Brynne squeezed my arm. I nearly teared up. I asked the lady questions. I didn’t want them to leave. I wanted to savor the moment. Jim and Jennie Houtsch. Come September, they will celebrate 65 years of marriage. Brynne and I enjoyed our chat with this Otwell couple out on the town. Who knows, we might just crash their anniversary party. Maybe I’ll even do Harry Caray there — you know, just to keep people guessing.




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