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Salty Slug?

What’s with the name?”  Not an uncommon question for the uncommon name.  Actually, it’s not all that uncommon.  Someone else has a blog with the same name on the parallel free blog site.  A very talented artist.

Those of you who know me know that my hair has begun to gray.  A little of salt in my pepper-black hair.  That is only a very small contributor to the name.

I chose the name for several reasons, but largely because of my nautical background.  In fact, one definition of “salty” is “smacking of the sea or nautical life.”  And a common term in nautical parlance is “old salt“, which is often used to refer to “a very experienced and/or old sailor.”  With over 27 years in the Navy and Navy Reserve, I almost fit that description.

But the primary impetus behind the name belongs to another Old Salt.  You see, when I was a midshipman, I wasn’t exactly what you would call “squared away” and, not being anything like a top performer, I often found myself on restriction, marching area tours, or otherwise facing the fine corrective measures available to the Powers That Be at good ol’ Canoe U, all the while accruing demerits.

During my youngster (or sophomore) year, my roommates and I found ourselves standing before the saltiest Battalion Officer because our sloven room caught his attention.  As we stood before his vast desk, more or less at attention (actually, very much less than attention) in our dust-covered rumpled uniform, the salty commander reminded me of the old gangster movies of the 40s, wearing his double-breasted Service Dress Blues and smoking a fat cigar.  He stared at us with his steely eyes for a moment, then blew out smoke circles as he contemplated his cigar. 

Returning his gaze to us, he tore into us:  ” You guys are punks!  You’re slugs!  We’re playing hardball and I wrote the book!”

Honest injun!  Just like out of the movies!  I was terrified, but had a parallel out-of-body observation that was giddy with the B-movie arse-chewing.  At any rate, the just-bestowed name, slug, kind of stuck.

Well, you may know that slugs survive because of their ability to leave a slime trail.  They can walk on the edge of a razor because the slime protects them.  Interesting analogue somewhere in that tidbit.  But because a slug requires moisture, salt (a natural desiccant) is its mortal enemy.  A slug will die a horrible death if you pour salt on it.  Another great analogue for the life of a disorganized midshipman in the strict regimen of the Brigade.  So a classmate suggested we write a book about our life at the Academy entitled, “The Life of a Slug in a Salt Mine.”

And now you know the Rest of the Story!

Paul Harvey.  Good Day!


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