TNB Night Owl – Worth Their Salt

Himalayan salt (coarse) by Ivar Leidus

“Trivia” is not a direct measure of obscurity; rather, it is a term denoting items of meager importance. Importance is somewhat subjective, though; while it is certainly unimportant to most people whether a given Marvel superhero is categorized as a mutant it is likely to be key knowledge for the company’s comic book writers. Many of their storylines have involved devices which identify mutants, illnesses which injure only mutants and so forth; failure to know what characters should be affected by an event could significantly undermine a story for the readers.

In a similar fashion, recognizing the value of salt can be key to understanding why some Roman soldiers were occasionally paid in the useful mineral (something important to historians studying ancient empires) or how the word “salary” derived (something important to eytmologists.) Those pieces of information would be trivia to most, but they’re both commonly known.

What is not common knowledge, directly associated with salt, and verbal in origin is something else entirely: the names of Scottish salt trucks. Every winter they roam the highways of modern Caledonia, delivering payloads designed to keep traffic as safe as possible during icy conditions. Because it benefits drivers to know what roads have been recently treated, the government of Scotland provides an online map showing what trucks are currently in operation and where they are. Because of the truck names, people access the map from all over the world, not just Scotland.

Mary, Queen of Salt. Hello Gritty. You’re a Blizzard, Harry (typically teamed with Lord Coldemort). Hansel & Grit-All. Sled Zepplin (not to be confused with Gritallica and certainly not Spready Mercury). BFG – Big Friendly Gritter is there for the Roald Dahl fans, while Basil Salty is a nod to John Cleese’s Fawlty Towers.

Inclement weather can range from a bother to a serious calamity, depending on the situation. Scottish authorities have managed to put an entertaining twist on their regular wintry pain.

Question of the Night: What are some names you might create, were you in charge of the latest Scottish snow truck?

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.