(Editor’s wife’s note: Women may find the content of this article irritating. I encourage them to skip over it. Women who chose to read it are implored not to use the author’s behavior as a standard for their husbands—former, current or future.)

E By T. Patrick Cleary

xcept for a torturesome week on a cruise ship with a former wife, my maritime experience has been limited to brief excursions aboard small vessels, which is to say, canoeing on ponds and creeks. With this in mind, you can appreciate my concern when my current better half began referring to me as “the old salt.”

Salt, the Bible instructs us, is to be

thrown in the street and trampled under- foot if it has lost its flavor. I don’t know whether we’ve been married so long that I’ve lost my flavor, but being trampled underfoot is not on my bucket list. I go out of my way to avoid trampling-related injuries and death; it’s one reason I don’t shop on Black Friday or run with the bulls in Pamplona or attend European soccer matches (as an additional safety measure, I don’t watch them on TV, either.)

It may have been purely coinciden- tal, but about a week or two after being labelled “the old salt,” I was assigned to purchase some along with a short list of other staple goods. I was suspicious be- cause the missus doesn’t trust me in any kind of store without supervision. The grocery run would be my first solo-shop- ping expedition in recent memory. My wife had carefully recorded items on the list in an order that would facili- tate their efficient retrieval and my rapid


return for assignment of other duties. The flaw in her logic—and she knows this— is that I’m not one to do anything in a logical manner. I submit to you that if matter and anti-matter coexist, then it’s only logical that logic and anti-logic co- exist. Those of us who live in the “anti- logic” category are a poorly-understood lot simply doing our part to maintain equilibrium in the universe.

I had left my cell phone at home to

preclude any grocery item locating app from popping up and directing me. I don’t know if such an app exists, but the cell phone is an evil invention and I wasn’t taking any chances. Sans cell phone, I was free to navigate the grocery store the way I do everything else— in a completely random fashion.

I’ll admit that I had difficulty finding the salt. I was searching for a cylindri- cal blue container with a little girl and umbrella on it. I even remembered the tag line: When it rains, it pours. Like most guys, I’m not keen to ask for directions, but after a couple of minutes of looking without success, I reckoned that asking for directions inside grocery stores doesn’t really count.

Arriving at the salt section, I was surprised to learn how many salts were now stocked in addition to the girl- with-the-umbrella kind. I’m no chemist, but salt is salt, at least if my 5th grade

science teacher was telling the truth. I’ll accept that there are plain-labelled salts in iodized and non-iodized forms along with their name-brand counterparts. But, alongside them was Kosher salt, sea salt, grinder salt, flake salt, and finishing salt. There was gray salt and “lo salt” which contains 66% less sodium so it’s not re- ally salt at all. There was Himalayan salt, Sicilian sea salt, and Hawaiian sea salt. In what must be a nod to the 1960s, there was even “smoked” salt. And leave it to the French to try to corner the salt market by dishing up sodium chloride under a variety of fancy French names such as fleur de sel, gros sel, and sel gris. Since the item on the list was de- scribed only as “salt,” I could have been technically correct bringing home any of the varieties except the aforementioned “lo-salt.” I wanted to prove to the wife that I was a capable shopper, and wanted to avoid a return trip to the store, too. I did my best to anticipate what a logical person would do, and I bought one of each. Now we’ve got enough salt for the foreseeable future and plenty to trample underfoot, too. I might live in the anti- logic, but I can cross over from time to time. Just ask my wife. H

T. Patrick Cleary is a freelance writer and humorist whose wife graciously allows him to live with her in Williamsburg, VA.

July/August 2017

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