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My Plan To Shoot A Dead Rabbit

By Raymond Reid

Look closely at "The Last Supper" painting by Leonardo Da Vinci and you’ll see that Judas Iscariot has spilled the salt. People ever since have associated salt with lies and disloyalty. Now I know why my dad threw salt over his left shoulder during supper. It’s supposed to bring good luck, he always said, “and ward off the devil.” 

“But why the left shoulder?” I asked.

“Because that’s where the devil is, son,” he said. “He’s behind your left shoulder. So you throw the salt right into his eyes and blind him.”

I didn’t know the Judas connection back then, or I would have pointed out that the spilled salt was beside his right arm. 

“Watch this son,” he said, as he dumped more salt over his left shoulder. “Right into Satan’s eyes. That’ll show him a thing or two!”

And right on cue, Mother rolled her eyes. “OK, that’s enough, dear,” she said. “Remember, I’m the one who has to sweep it up. You’re not worth your salt when it comes to cleaning up after yourself.”

I grew up hearing that term. As a matter of fact, it was used on me a few times.

“You’re not worth your salt, Raymond,” Dad often said. (He always called me Raymond instead of  “son” when he was angry.)

One particular “you’re not worth your salt” tantrum happened when I was 16 years old. I had just gotten my license and went rabbit hunting with a high school buddy. 

We came up empty. On the way home, around dusk, a rabbit ran out in front of me and I accidentally ran over it. I saw him in my rearview mirror, lying dead in the middle of the road. 

OK, I thought. I’ll turn around, retrieve the rabbit, and shoot him. Dad will be so proud of me when I come strutting into the house holding my dead rabbit by his hind legs. 

“Got him on the first shot,” I could hear myself saying.

I pulled dad’s ‘55 Dodge into a driveway to turn around. While backing out, the car’s front end slipped into a ditch. I was stuck with a broken tire rod. The nice man who lived there drove me home.

I had never seen Dad so angry. He went on and on. “You’re not worth your salt,” is one of the nicer things he said. My mother finally got him to calm down.

They towed the car to a garage the next day. I believe the repair bill was around $20.

I could write a book called, “It seemed like the right thing to do at the time.” But shoot a rabbit that was already dead?

I’m sure I’ve done things more stupid than that. 

I just can’t think of one...

-Raymond Reid

Raymond Reid is a national award-winning humor columnist. He can be contacted at

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