Leonso Canales, Jr., a flea market owner of Kingsville, Texas, is immortalized through his campaign to replace the greeting ”hello” with the more friendly and God-fearing ”heavenO”. As he writes on his website ”The ’O’ is not enough to hide the most negative word (Hell) printed in every dictionary,” while the ”Universal greeting ’HeavenO’ is a symbol of Peace, Friendship and Welcome.” He achieved a measure of success in 1997 when the dingbats of Kleberg County (also Texas) were convinced to adopt ”HeavenO” as the county’s preferred form of greeting. According to Canales, his campaigns have led to the decline of “hello”, even where “HeavenO” has not been officially adopted, but his documentation for the claim is a little weak.
Of course, there were trouble ahead. Carl Matthews of North Carolina claimed to have been the real originator of this remarkable idea, and that “[t]he copyright means the property belongs to me and cannot be commercialized on,” though the officials didn’t agree.
Diagnosis: Completely harmless village idiots add color to life; the slightly ominous part of the story is the Kleberg County officials’ decision to adopt his ideas, suggesting a certain susceptibility to the kinds of ideas officials would ideally not be susceptible to.