Friday, 20 January 2006

Salt by Kate Smurthwaite

Death of a (Good) Salesman

One of those days I suppose I should say
Pride first, then the fall
Up one minute, down the next
Or to better explain it all:

This morning I get the trophy: best sales record this year
Another one for the shelves
I don’t need trophies for the gadgets we sell
I always say: They sell themselves

I’m not like the other sales guys though
Trying to make ends meet like every other graduate
Before prematurely giving up
Getting old and bald and fat

They don’t understand sales is about creativity
Finding ways of getting the client before the other guy can win
It’s like doing the Oakey Cokey though
You’ve got to throw your whole self in

Then this afternoon the results came through
Routine check-up, nothing new
Normal, normal, normal, normal,
Continued on page two

I’ve never smoked, I don’t take pills
Never more than a social drink
I’m not the healthiest eater alive
But I’m better than most I think

But there it is in red highlight
Between “History of Cancer: none, as stated”
And “Liver Function: regular”
“Blood Pressure: dangerously elevated”

It stops me dead in my tracks
I look back at my lunch in my lap
Salt and vinegar crisps
And a half-finished floury cheese bap

It’d be strangely emasculating
Eating celery and low-sodium dips
But I’ll do it if it gives me a few more years
Than the battered cod and the chips

My knee-jerk reaction to the salt-laden crisps
Is quickly to throw them away
But it seems like a waste while the bag is still sealed
So I leave them for a healthier day

Martin comes over to tease me
Says the award should have gone to Tim
So I give him the crisps then I’m sorry I did
I don’t really want to kill him

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