Sal Buttaci, salt of the earth, and other a-salts


by Sal Buttaci


You would think, with a name like Grover Saltine, the Republican Senator from Georgia would have run away from home at age ten and joined the traveling circus under a less laughable name. He did not. In fact, he wore “Saltine” like a badge of honor.

“My great-granddaddy hailed from Italy,” he’d say, “where ‘Saltine’ was pronounced the Eye-talian way, ‘Sahl – TEE – nay’ but we’re in America now.”

Congressmen and constituents who cast their lot with the Donkey Party referred to this elephant as “the Georgia cracker heavy on the salt.” If he were aware of the backbiting, he never acknowledged it. Both sides of the aisle were puzzled by how a politician, eyeball high in unbending conservatism, could take pride in the Saltine banner he waved, a cracker sloganizing the product of himself.

In his thirties he married Doreen Landsfill, a spinster Daughter of the Confederacy. He claimed he fell for her at the very first sight. Doreen Saltine? A coincidence? Then in yearly succession the couple brought to the light a son named Eugene and two daughters Nadine and Praline.

Do you see where I am going with this? Don’t you expect at any moment to crane your neck to see The Great Saltine in his blue tights, arms raised, high on the trapeze where he prepares to clasp the flying hands of Doreen, then Eugene, Nadine and Praline?

Was Grover Saltine crackers? On and under the surface, crazy as a loon? He wore that constant crazy-like-a-fox sneer everywhere he spoke. In his campaigns there seemed a political method to his madness. Like the man he hoped one day would be his running mate for President, Senator Inez Slump, he was honest to a fault. He never crumbled under pressure. He told the truth.

Did he love America? He did. However, when Scotus declared illegal the display of the Confederate flag, Saltine kept a handkerchief replicating that flag hidden in his side pocket. He’d wave it free in the privacy of home and office, mop his sweaty forehead while mumbling prayers for the Confederate dead.



(Editor’s note:  this from 1999 tabloid)

IRVINE, CA—Citing “insufficient looks,” Charles Hausner, 31, threw Amy Glass out of his bed Monday after catching the 27-year-old consuming Saltines. According to Hausner, Glass was not attractive enough to warrant special in-bed cracker-eating privileges. “Had she looked like Claudia Schiffer, I most certainly would have let the transgression slide and allowed her to stay in my bed and get crumbs all over the sheets,” Hausner said. “But she doesn’t, so I had no choice but to kick her out.”

15 thoughts on “Sal Buttaci, salt of the earth, and other a-salts

  1. Kenneth Weene says:

    Mr. Buttaci proves once again that he is a writing animal (cracker). Reminds one of Senator Samoa, who was part of the great campfire coverup — many a marshmallow consumed in that tale. I do believe that SCOTUS has allowed it is right and proper to use a Confederate flag for nose blowing and brushing Saltine crumbs from ones beard.

  2. Michael Stang says:

    Jesus, Sal, this is fodder for the silver screen. One of us is a screen writer, right?
    A perfect lead in.

    • Salvatore Buttaci says:

      The closest I ever got to screenwriting was when I was about six in Brooklyn, New York, and got in trouble for writing with a crayon on the tiny Philco TV screen. I’d like to say I was a precocious little boy who wanted only to add color to that black-and-white, but the truth is, I couldn’t find a coloring book I liked enough to sit without squirming at the table. Seriously, in college I was a drama major concentrating in playwriting after trying unsuccessfully to concentrate in acting. One of my acting roles ended in humiliation. That’s another story…

        • Salvatore Buttaci says:

          Can you believe that back in the infancy of TV, you could go to Woolworth’s Five and Dime and buy a plastic sheet with a tinted blue bar at the top and a green one at the bottom. By scotchtaping the sheet to the screen, you could, via the sheet, provide blue sky and green earth. Of course, that worked only for outdoor scenes of pioneer or Wild West America. Applying the sheet on an “I Love Lucy” segment gave Lucy blue hair and the chocolates on the assembly line a sickly green. Oh, dem was de days!

        • Salvatore Buttaci says:

          Humiliation? I’ve been a victim more times than I can remember. Fortunately, as I entered my senior years, I lost that red-glow blush, my head did not fall to my chest, and I did not get choked up with embarassment. Was it my fault if back then I wore thick eyeglass lenses? My nose arrived at destinations a few seconds faster than I did? I took a girl out to dinner and while cutting away at my steak, it took a flying leap into the air and skid across the floor of the Blue Swan Restaurant? A woman to whom I was engaged slapped me on a dance floor because I told her I decided not to marry her? Humiliation? Oh, yeah. Knew it well.

  3. Parisianne Modert says:

    Masterful fish out of water storytelling with grand center ring humor and excellently concise embellishments will always pull me into the big top. Excellent, salt on this bird’s tale; although I cannot figure out what it has to do with the contest theme at all. The story read to me as a safe cracker without a vault to rob.

    • Salvatore Buttaci says:

      In my story I was trying to explain that Saltine is Saltine on, above, and under the surface. No deceit? He’s a politician, right? Which means a three-tiered deceit, but under that salty veneer is a subtle saltiness that elicits crocodile tears for the C.S.A. Personally, I like the old man. It takes guts to find a wife with a name that rhymes with “Saltine” and then name their children accordingly. I think that’s real keen of Saltine, something you’ve just got to love!

  4. Parisianne Modert says:

    I just got the word play of Sal and Saltine. Sorry I missed that before, but my thought is that we only know and hide one person beneath the surface and that is ourself. In such a theme I want to hear about Sal not Saltine. My mother told me I wore my heart on my sleeve and would get hurt because I crave personal intimacy rather than being evasively private. This story to me is a near perfect bowed shot, the arrow flies with grace and power, but misses my heart, because it lacks the personal intimacy that I believe our editor-in-chief asked for. Great story entered into the wrong contest.

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