The dietician, mystic, expert in medieval esoterism, dog lover and Monty Python fan known as Richard von der Walde had always dreamed of being interviewed by a world-renowned newspaper; something that became a private obsession from the age of five.
Such a caprice fuelled his career and future investigations, especially during his early thirties: the time during which he realised that something outstanding had to be performed in order to be featured in London’s The Times, or The Guardian, or The New York Times. Salt became the excuse to aspire, to taste (and eventually achieve, though in unsuspected ways) the yearned media notoriety; his remarkable laboratorial quests finally booked him a place of honour in the interviewal Parnassus.
The date of his most yearned and longed for day was a 27th of the only October month that the year 1964 had to suffer ever; but the dream in its original form was already doomed to linger on forever, to wander between cotton and silk and linen made realms whilst looking for a dreamer; the dream which finally did arrive, though in an unsuspected shape:
Richard von der Walde never made it to the long awaited meeting with one of the best known scientific divulgators of his time, a certain Mark Hill, that was supposed to be held in a Café Rouge somewhere in Surrey: a distracted or overwhelmed postman and his overloaded bicycle with a pouch full of anxious and futile and tedious Christmas cards decided against our scientific investigator’s own will and personal fantasy; this is the reason why we can only reproduce his final dream, insistently dreamt during his morning bus journey that eventually placed him at the very scene of the mortal accident thus the sleepy imagining becoming an accomplice of death; an acolyte of destiny.
We shall omit the unnecessary and illogical dreamy details to only present the essence of his fantasy. The dreamt interview, such as the real was supposed to have been, is related to Mark Hill, who later would have edited like this for the Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung:
“I was able to prove and realize that –results that shall be published in the near future – the so called light salt or low sodium salt is not only a product that is providing billions of dollars to certain unscrupulous companies, but something that is absolutely of no use to the human organism, not to mention its fraudulent and misguiding advertised benefits; a product that is claimed by its very own creators and sellers to have a 60% less sodium.
(Sorry, I need to get off at the next bust stop.)
“My unequivocal and fatal conclusions, which were born after they had been tasted and put to the test during five harassing years of troubling and white and high-pressure studies and experiments, pristinely show that those unhappy users of such a salty and artificial invention end up using 60% more of the product in question, to make up for the lack of saltiness which such a product suffers from; this excess in the pouring bears another – yet not insubstantial – issue with the visual side of things: such an increase literally ruins the aesthetic virtues of the dish of food which has now become a wintery Swiss mountain; perhaps where Heidi and her Opa used to live.
“It has also been noted that, on several occasions, this abusive salty-snowing percentage climbs up to a 67,5% increase in the consumption of the light product when compared to what the usual consumption of regular real salt would have been.
“The summary is that, as a natural consequence of the lack of sodium in the light salt, the poured quantities of the white fake product are severely increased: occurrence that unconsciously takes place in order to equilibrate the advertised lightness; the body tries to compensate for the lack of real salt by using more of the artificial product. The mathematical truth is unyielding: the amount of consumed sodium remains the same (when not even increased), hence, the advertised benefits are non existent; as usual, the consumers are being vexed once again.”
This, his final dream, adopted the shape of a light-fake premonition, thus continuing:
“The following weekend after the publication of the study I just mentioned at the beginning of this very same interview, and two weeks after the editing and publishing of this article, especially throughout Europe and in the USA, this wonderful journalistic piece of scientific divulgation signed by the great Mark Hill shall be a typical and predictable topic in every table talk, every business meeting, and every church service; a theme that will arouse some light disagreements among those involved.”
The final cadenza:
“We are sorry to inform you that the amazing and unique Richard von der Walde has been reported dead by the local police authorities of the German city of Heidelberg, place where he last resided; the suspected time of death is 4:57 am, local time. It is indeed a real pity given his extraordinary human qualities and his great culinary refinement.”
And the coda:
“Rumours whisper that his body was found inside a huge mountain made of salt, without it bearing any signs of violence; on the top of this salty mountain there was supposedly a little sheep alongside a Swiss shepherd whose name might be Peter; from all this it shall be deducted that he cause of death had to be asphyxiation. There actually exists an on-going investigation which is being carried out by the local scientific police: the first results might indicate (according to some judicial sources) that the used salt for the assassin purposes could have been a low sodium one; hence, the latest mathematical estimations suggest that the salty mountain would have been 60% smaller if it had been made out of real salt.”
(Hey mate, wake up. We are already at the terminal. Please, you must descend now.)
Seconds after the infamous accident, the shocked, killer postman blamed the lack of ice melting coarse salt on the sidewalk and pavement; it was later discovered that the Heidelberg’s Rat (Council) had determined a cut in the city’s expenses, mainly focusing on the replacement of the melting coarse salt for a cheaper and less effective low sodium or light salt.
Apparently, those responsible for street maintenance never added the extra percentage needed for the desired effect to occur…