Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Salt Life



I have noticed more and more vehicles adorned with “Salt Life” decals and had always assumed that it was an evangelical initiative based upon Matthew 5:13 which states:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

The idea being that the owners and operators of these vehicles had committed themselves to retaining their metaphorical “saltiness” by striving to exemplify a Christian lifestyle. At least that is what I thought that until I noticed the “Salt Life” decal placed on a vehicle adjacent to a few decidedly non-Christian bumper stickers.

I then began to theorize that the words had no relation to Christianity and there was simply a growing number of people willing to admit they suffered from higher-than-recommended dietary sodium intakes. Perhaps SALT itself was an acronym for the Strategic Alliance of Leased Toyotas or Southern Academy for Libertarian Teenagers.
Finally, I sat down and Googled “Salt Life” only to find that it is a commercial branding operation with an exquisitely ambiguous “mission statement”:

Salt Life is an authentic, aspirational and lifestyle brand that embraces those who love the ocean and everything associated with living the “Salt Life”. Founded in 2003 by four avid watermen from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, the Salt Life brand has widespread appeal with ocean enthusiasts worldwide. From fishing, diving and surfing, to beach fun and sun-soaked relaxation, the Salt Life brand says “I live the Salt Life”.

I personally love it when a company identifies itself in unquantifiable terms like “authentic” and “aspirational.” What does that even mean and how would one go about determining the authenticity of a company who sells window decals and beer cozies? If the combination of an Internet presence and retail locations Florida are the criteria, I guess Alvin’s Island has been keeping it real since Clinton was in office.

I must admit that I admire anyone who can create as broad a demographic as these people. It would appear that they wish to represent anyone who at some point in their lives has found the existence of the ocean pleasing or beneficial. This covers everyone from marine biologists to Red Lobster patrons. I cannot recall talking to anyone who is staunchly anti-ocean.

I realize that perhaps my criticism seems unfair given the fact that this company simply wishes to turn a profit by providing a product. My only real defense is how anti-climactic it was to discover that these ubiquitous decals weren’t something more exciting. I was hoping for a nefarious cult or at least a questionable philanthropic endeavor. What I never suspected was that my search would take me to a website that sold a $40 pair of women’s polyester blend sweatpants claiming to deliver “ocean style.”

Since these lifestyle decals have proven to be so lucrative, I have compiled my own list. Obviously “Salt Life” has been taken and “Thug Life” would be disingenuous and risk litigation from 2Pac’s estate, but the rest I felt was fair game.

Ciabatta Life – because Kaiser Buns are for chumps…

Hypertension Life – you didn’t chose increased stress and caloric intake, increased stress and caloric intake chose you…..

Dirt Life – for those whose daily lives have influenced by topsoil

Probiotic Life – representing those who are passionate about digestive regularity

Existence Life – for those whose lives have been directly affected by their existence

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