A Saltin’ Battery


I’m warning you now: if you are ever asked to be Salt Master, you’d better make darn sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

I learned this lesson a few weeks ago, when my Intensive Writing class joined up with two other Intensive Writing classes to have a Guy Fawlkes Day dinner. Who is Guy Fawlkes, why does he have a Day, and why would anyone eat dinner in his honor? I don’t know. All we were told was that he lived in the Middle Ages in England and was somehow important, although for the life of me I can’t seem to remember how. Suffice it to say that we all had to dress up in medieval (i.e. silly) outfits and eat a medieval (i.e. unappetizing) meal.

A few days before the celebration, though, my teacher called me and asked me if I would be willing to serve as Salt Master. I jokingly replied, “What does that mean, that if someone wants salt for their food, they have ask me first?”

My teacher replied, “Yes.”

Always one to put 100 percent effort into something completely senseless, I agreed to accept this position (Salt Master, not humor columnist). So on the night of the dinner, one of about 400 people who were in charge and running around acting like medieval persons presented me with a metallic vessel filled with salt. She then informed all the students that if they wanted salt on their food, by golly, they were going to have to go through me to get it. This made me feel incredibly important, especially when, at one point, someone called me “Salt Dude.”

Everything was going fine until I got up to do something, and when I returned to the table, the salt was gone. Someone had robbed the Salt Master of his salt! Fortunately, there were a bunch of guys dressed in full knight armor preparing to demonstrate some jousting a bit later, and they sought out the salt thief and brought him to justice, as was the custom in the old days. Unfortunately, it was also the custom in the old days to kill the Salt Master if he slacked off in his responsibilities. Overall, the old days were pretty stupid, if you ask me.

So next thing I know, there’s this very large man, in full battle armor, coming toward me, preparing to kill me for having let the salt out of my sight. He was extremely large. He must have weighed, without his armor, 900 pounds, and with the armor, he was well over a ton. He looked like a VW bug, and he had just downshifted and was headed straight for me.

Naturally, I defended myself as best I could. I said, “Hey, get away from me” in a stern, authoritative voice. This seemed to have no effect on him, however, so I picked up a chair and hit him with it. What effect did this have? Well — did I say he resembled a VW bug? I take that back. If you hit a VW bug with a chair, the VW bug would stop immediately and would probably never run properly again. This man, on the other hand, just kept standing there, his lance poised and ready to kill me. Fortunately, he had mercy and scuttled away after a few moments, like an enormous mutant beetle.

It was a harrowing experience, but it did teach me a lesson, because I haven’t let the salt out of my sight since then. It is currently sitting next to my computer.

(Eric D. Snider is a freshman at BYU. He is from Lake Elsinore, Calif., where salt isn’t nearly the precious commodity that it seems to be here.)

My teacher, mentioned in this column, was Marie K. Hafen. She later became the adviser for the Garrens Club (that's how the Garrens started, as a club, not a business), and her husband, Bruce C. Hafen, now a General Authority in the LDS Church, was at this time BYU Provost (whatever that is). Marie was very helpful and encouraging to me as I began to develop my writing skills back in those days.