Salt & Sneakers

It was with a great deal of amusement and some wonder at the irony of things that I noticed, for the first time really, that the two books on my bed stand were called “Salt” and “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.”


Both were given to me by friends. “Salt” (full title: “Salt: A World History”) came from my friend Brian, he of 90/60 blood pressure about whom I previously wrote, who also brought me a small container of Japanese salt from the depths of the Mariana Trench — the deepest spot in the Pacific Ocean. (Brian’s doctor actually told him he needs to eat more salt and more fat. She suggested bacon. How’s that for a problem.) “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running,” a memoir by the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, was a gift from friend Derek, an old friend and committed runner who had found it amusing that my wife and I were now running.

Both books, whenever I see them, make me think about blood pressure. Which, quite frankly, was not something I ever thought about until somewhat recently, but which I now think of quite often. I love salt, although I’m being careful about how much I eat because I’m watching my blood pressure. I don’t love running, but I’m doing it more than I want because it’s helping my blood pressure.

People — like Brian — often give me salt for a gift. Barring the road out in front of my house icing over — which is about as likely as the tropics ascending on Norway — I have more salt than I will ever be able to use, especially now that I’m watching my salt intake. I have a very large bag of Brazilian salt given me by my friend Monica, and a very small container of ghost pepper salt given me by I can’t recall whom. I’ve got salt from Australia, Nepal, France, England, Cyprus. I’ve got northwest alderwood smoked salt, and southern hickory smoked salt. I’ve used neither. When I was in Alaska last summer, I almost bought a jar of green spruce-tip salt. Then I thought better of it, picturing the jar gathering dust on the countertop as I didn’t use that, either.

(You have to be careful of purchasing foods while you travel. That big bag of jerk spices that seemed like such a great idea in the Caribbean will likely sit untouched for years, much like that tiki statue you bought in Hawaii that you thought would really look good in your home.)

My wife, on the other hand, has no interest in giving me salt. She gives me sneakers. She likes to order things in the mail, and while she was shopping for sneakers for herself, she got me some too. Several pairs in fact. She wanted me to try them on and see which I liked best.

I didn’t like any of them. They were light and strong with strange aerodynamic orthopedic soles and optional cleat attachments. They felt funny on my feet, and I pictured myself flying like Mercury. I like my plain old sneakers I got at the store.

As I read about salt and sneakers — alternating from one book to the other, depending on my mood — I am reminded about the yin and yang of life. You take the good days with the bad days, the healthy with the sick, the times you got ripped off with the times you scored a great deal. You take your dinner with just the right amount of salt. And then you take to the mountains in your sneakers…

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jessamine in PDX
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 03:57:31

    Man! I need that kind of news from a doctor — but it should be “eat more foie and drink more beer.” Now that would be fabulous! Also I too have a whole lot of salt — tiny jars upon tiny jars full of the stuff — smoked, infused, flaked, large crystals. One of these days I’ll get through them all. I swear.


    • scolgin
      Apr 18, 2014 @ 14:37:31

      We should all have doctors like that. Tell me if you get through all of yours, and I’ll send you some of mine. (I’ve got enough pink salt to start my own pretty little ocean.)


  2. catsholiday
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 07:38:52

    That is so true about food and indeed ‘interesting’booze when bought on holiday!!


  3. rachelocal
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 11:16:48

    Love those last few lines. Also love smoked salt. (But not running.)


  4. pal-O
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 17:53:43

    Not a fan of running but my blood pressure is that of a runner, so I’m good sitting here tip tapping a little & contemplating dinner. Pass the pink salt, please.


    • scolgin
      Apr 19, 2014 @ 21:02:01

      I’d recommend sitting. Although I have managed to make a pleasant contemplative practice of my runs. And if you gotta run, I’m a lucky man indeed with the trails and fire roads up here. Deer, bobcat and coyote sightings, expansive views of the Pacific Ocean, and now wildflowers…


  5. Jen
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 13:20:39

    Nice choices! My husband read Salt, said it was great. I have yet to read it. Curious why you need to stay away from salt? Sorry if that’s to personal!


    • scolgin
      Apr 28, 2014 @ 13:56:35

      It is too personal — I have an unnatural sexual obsession with salt.

      LOL, just kidding. My blood pressure was inching up — not high yet, but pre-high. So I’ve made a few minor adjustments to my diet/lifestyle (running, drinking less, eating less salt, etc.) I’m not staying away from it, per se… just not being quite so generous in my salting as I might’ve been in my youthful days. 🙂


  6. Trackback: In Praise of the Unpasteurized | skinny girls & mayonnaise

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