• Joe Capozzi

The Trouble With Harry’s — Wayward truck nearly silences popular dive bar’s edgy outdoor quips


A wayward truck did heavy damage to but failed to silence the sign outside Harry's Banana Farm, a popular dive bar in Lake Worth Beach, Fla. (Joe Capozzi)


SOME MIGHT SAY Harry’s had it coming.

Like a back-hand smack to the mouth of Lake Worth Beach’s biggest smart aleck, a wayward delivery truck has temporarily silenced the legendary outdoor sign above Harry’s Banana Farm.

For more than 20 years, the two-sided sign atop a pole on Dixie Highway has served up a caustic parody of one-liners, usually about current events, for passing motorists.

Just hours after bar manager Lou De Stout updated the sign Wednesday with a witty jab at the Major League Baseball lockout, a liquor truck somehow managed to nearly destroy the marquee after making a delivery.

“Tabby (the bartender) called me hysterical, ‘The guy just crushed our sign!’ I’m like, ‘What are you talking about? That sign is so far up in the air you almost have to hit it with a plane,’’ De Stout said.

De Stout went to the bar and couldn’t believe what he saw.

“He crushed it. Bent the shit out of the frame. The plexiglass just exploded,’’ he said.


Damaged marquee outside Harry's Banana Farm


“They usually make deliveries from behind, so you know it's a new driver or someone filling in because a liquor truck pulled into the front. What pissed me off, though, is he made his liquor delivery and left and didn't say anything to anybody. He had to have known he hit it.’’


Even a sign repairman who came out Thursday to assess the damage was upset.

“He goes, ‘Oh, man, not this sign,’’ De Stout said.

Yes, that sign.

Lou De Stout working on one-liners for a sign last year (Joe Capozzi)

The sign is actually a marquee with two traffic-facing signs, both equal-opportunity offenders with messages like:

"If masturbation is Satan's typewriter, I'm a damn novelist.’’

“Cremation, the only time you’ll have a smokin’ hot body.’’

“What would Jesus tweet?”


On Wednesday, DeStout climbed his ladder again and adjusted the movable black letters facing southbound traffic for this one: “Miss spring training? Stop In - We’ll Sell you a Beer for $12.’’

A few hours later, the top of the truck hit a bottom corner of the sign, bending the metal frame and sending plastic and letters flying into the air. The baseball sign is still mostly readable, missing only the “S” in “Stop” and the “Y” in “You.’’


The damage to the northbound traffic was so bad the message, a jab at Gov. Ron DeSantis, couldn’t be understood.

“Maybe the driver is a Trump fan,’’ De Stout wondered.


The liquor company has offered to pay to repair the sign, which might cost $5,000, after it submits an insurance claim.

“But I'm not going to wait for them because that sign is important. It's a barometer of what's going on in Lake Worth and the world,’’ he said with a laugh.

“It's amazing how much mileage we get out of that sign. It's just to give you a little chuckle on your way to work.’’

It’s not the first time a wayward truck has hit the sign.


Lou De Stout prepares to put new signs on the marquee after a hurricane a few years ago.

About four years ago, the sign sustained similar damage when it was struck by a liquor truck trying to back out.

“There was just enough space left, so I put up ‘Wanted: Sign Repairman.’ Everybody got a kick out of it, so I might do that again,’’ he said.

But because there’s a chance more broken pieces may fall off, he said there’s a good chance he might leave it as is until it can be fixed.

If that’s the case, he said, “I'll just stand out front and yell my messages to the cars driving by.’’


Of course, De Stout couldn't resist. On Friday morning, he climbed his ladder, removed the DeSantis letters and carefully replaced it with a new message:


"Half a sign can still piss you off!"




© 2022 ByJoeCapozzi.com All rights reserved.


 

About the author

Joe Capozzi is an award-winning reporter based in Lake Worth Beach. He spent more than 30 years in the newspaper business, mostly at The Palm Beach Post, where he wrote about the opioid scourge, invasive pythons, the birth of the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and Palm Beach County government. For 15 years, he covered the Miami Marlins baseball team. Joe left The Post in December 2020. View all posts by Joe Capozzi.


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