been giving a lot of thought to the salt expressions in recent
months. Probably too much thought. And yet, enough that some interesting
tangents have developed.
all heard the expressions, in some version. The “worth your salt”
concept being applied to a person or an organization. Where does
the thought come from?
base, let’s consider the old two birds sayings like “two birds
with one stone” and “a bird in the hand” that seem to have clear
messages. There could be two birds… three birds… a hundred birds
in that bush, and the one in your hand is still worth as much
if not more because it is in your hand. A lesson such as “a bird
in the hand is worth two in the bush”? I get it.
in place, on to “worth your salt”.
of the history lessons surround salt as a life-giving spice and
expand from there. References abound of salt being used to preserve
food. Salt gets used for tasks such as treating icy surfaces.
There are virtually limitless uses for salt. It is quite common,
incredibly functional, and absolutely necessary.
seen debates about whether or not Roman soldiers were truly paid
physically in salt or with some form of credits they could use
for purchasing salt. And yet, regardless of what any source says
about that, the word salary… being paid for the work you do… does
trace its history back to the word salarium, which has origins
in the concept of combining salt and service. Essentially if you
don’t do your work, and you don’t get your salt.
can go off and do some reading of your own. I don’t think a lot
of it is all that surprising. Most of it you will have, in some
fashion and degree of detail, heard about previously. (Which,
of course, is why that part most often isn’t what has me thinking.)
you ever heard of someone being referred to as a waste of oxygen?
yes… a bit extreme. We’re all unique treasures. Blah blah blah.
Not the point.)
you ever heard that thought? Because that twist has been taking
up many of my thoughts.
days we don’t often think about salt. Its presence is so ordinary
it’s just kind of there… right there… for example, on virtually
every table. And, same idea in a different direction, it’s not
there. We have refrigerators and such so most of us don’t
need salt for many purposes that it previously provided. (Ok…
not previously provided, since it still does in plenty of places.
But the demand is certainly not as high for some.)
those lines… to stretch it, as salt becomes salarium becomes salary…
earning your salt becomes a reflection of worthiness. And more
than the standard many of us apply these days of pulling your
weight and earning your keep… in that waste of oxygen arena… suddenly
I wonder if worth your salt can be viewed as being worthy of the
salt your body uses?
told you already, I’ve been giving this a lot of thought. And
often thought travels into peculiar corners.
then again… moderation. Too much salt and you’ll get to have a
fun conversation with your doctor. Or, offering up a brand new
trail to navigate, I wonder how this fits into concepts of worthiness,
when you generate or produce more salt than you can handle.
happens if you’re not worth your salt?
time and distance, as years pass and generations expand, sources
of expressions change and evolve. Things get modified, adjusted,
or reapplied in some new fashion. Salt is one example of this,
where honestly it would appear that much of the original ideas
are still familiar in some way to many of us. That isn’t always
the case. And salt does provide some surprises.
is all food for thought…