Wastin’ Away Without a Shaker of Salt



2013-10-15 – Does this happen to you? Probably not. But it happens to me all the time. I say probably not because people act as if it is strange when I break out in song.

In fact, I can only think of a couple of people who do this. My mother and my friend Bob. My mother live far away, but sometimes she has a song for me when I call. Bob I worked with for 16 years and we would sing in the office all the time. But he’s retired now. I call him once in a while, but no songs. Songs are a spur-of-the-moment thing. You can’t count on a song coming up during a phone call. My sons Nat and Cal come up with songs once in a while. I assume they learned it from me—or it’s genetic. But they’re grown now, so I don’t get their songs very often.

Here’s how the song thing works. I can be doing any sort of mundane thing that will trigger a cascade of music in my head. Often it starts with a single word, but it gains momentum and lyrics start coming. Last evening was a typical case.

First the backstory. My wife Kit doesn’t like salt. She says it’s unhealthy. She says it masks flavors. Her sister loves salt, so she doesn’t mind if it is a prominent flavor. I am somewhere in between. I try not to put much salt of food for health reasons, but it does enhance some flavors, so I like to have it.

My chef son Nat pretty much agrees with me on this. But he’s a chef, so we have a variety of gourmet salts. At this point, though, we don’t have any normal salt. I like normal salt. The crystals are small. It dissolves easily. I can use a controlled portion. It’s not gritty. And so forth. Kit’s sister likes normal salt, too, so she said she’d bring us a new salt shaker. She was going to bring it yesterday but she forgot.

So I’m thinking: “shaker of salt . . . shaker of salt . . . my lost shaker of salt . . . searching for my lost shaker of salt” and before you know it, I’m . . .

“Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville
Searching for my lost shaker of salt “

. . . and the song fits. I don’t get it, but the song always fits . . . and it did this time”

“Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame”

. . . but Kit likes people to take responsibility rather than blame others (particularly her), so the song continues . . .

“But I know it’s my own damn fault
Yes and some people claim that there’s a woman to blame
And I know it’s my own damn fault.”

And I was thinking this song the rest of the evening, thanks to Jimmy Buffett.

It happens every day. Sometimes several times a day. I rarely know all the lyrics of the song, but somehow I always know the crucial lyrics.

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