I love adventure. Given a choice between eating at TGI Friday's or at a Peruvian hot dog stand run by a syphilitic gypsy, my only question would be, "Do she need me to bring my own relish?" To some, it's a strange choice, but you're just not going to get any intrigue on the side of your jalepeno poppers at Friday's. This love of the unknown has been the catalyst behind an unbelievable amount of bizarre decisions by yours truly. One of these was deciding to take a trip with Danza and some assorted weinerbiscuits to Oklahoma to hit up some Indian casinos while all of us were seniors in high school. Just from that last statement, there are all of the requisite elements for a great story: gambling, teenage stupidity, and tribal government. Yet, the greatest part of the story has absolutely nothing to do with any of that.
Being a bit of a journey from Arlington, TX to the casinos in Oklahoma, our agenda for the trip included dinner. I don't remember how I came up with this place, but I was dead-set that we hit up this rib joint in Ardmore, just across the Oklahoma border. If it's like most of my dining tips, a vagrant at the bus station probably screamed it at me before hurling a cup of urine in my direction. Whatever the case, with sufficient weeping, I managed to convince my comrades that this was indeed the place for us, and after a minor amount of dicking around, we located the place. From the outside, it looked okay. Not great, but okay. I was a little disappointed, as I expect more in my travels.
As soon as we entered the place though, it became apparent why I was drawn there. Sitting in the middle of the room, wailing away at the piano, was this tiny, ancient black man. You only had to hear him for a minute to realize that he didn't cotton to society's idea of a song. For him, it was all about bangin' and hollerin', and I was loving every minute of it. Midway through our dinner, someone in the eatery yelled out a request. The piano player stopped what he was playing, scrunched up his brow for a minute, and launched into this opus. No amount of writing could describe the song that may or may not've been requested, but the only lyrics were:
Salt pea-nut! Salt pea-nut!
Salt pea-nut Salt! pea-nut!
He played that over and over again, for at least 30 minutes. It just wouldn't stop. As soon as you thought he'd hit the end of Salt Peanut, he found a coda and went back to the middle. The diners and the waitstaff were scratching their heads, wondering if this man had finally gone over the brink. Through the entire thing, I was bobbing my head, getting into the groove, and struggling over whether it'd be appropriate to throw my underwear at him. Eventually, he bowed to the pressure and played a different gibberish song. Those songs were good too, but they weren't up to the level of "Salt Peanut"; for me, no song since has been.
Ever since that day, whenever I see a bluesy guy taking requests, I always ask him to play "Salt Peanut". The usual response is, "Folks, there's a white boy up here trying to talk dirty to me." That is to say, no success yet as far as hearing Salt Peanut Part 2. To compensate, I've started belting the chorus to the song whenever I experience a personal triumph. Whether I'm around friends, family, or coworkers, if it's time for the Peanut to make an appearance, I'm not scared to bust out a few bars. I've even come up with a little dance for it. Sometimes, you just have to find the Salt Peanut within.Posted by Cody at March 23, 2004 6:27 PM