Circa 1975 (or 76?) Sense and Nonsense

The story of the “pet rock” craze which swept the continent this Christmas reads like a modern but less believable version of “Cinderella”. How a poor but honest (and enterprising) beer parlour bum became a millionaire almost overnight. And all without  the help of a fairy godmother with a magic wand.

Maybe I’m hardhearted but I believe rocks should be kept outside at all times. As a matter of fact I am not fond of rocks at all. Our family always treated rocks with contempt. Maybe it was because we had so many in the garden and in the fields. It is hard to love something in your maturity when as a child you were taught to remove it from sight at all times.

I will admit that rocks are cheap to feed and have rather clean habits once you have washed the original dirt off them. However none of the rocks I have known have had any personality at all. They just sat there and never said a word. They didn’t bark, meow or even chirp. There is no way one could brag about the cute things their rock had done or compare it with the neighbour’s rock. Chances are the neighbour’s rock would be exactly as cute and intelligent as one’s own.

However a lot of people must love their rocks. I understand there are even funeral services available for your dearly departed “pet.” That is, if you can prove that it is dead. Apparently it is awfully hard to tell when a pet rock has died.

Acting on the premise that if rocks can die, then they must also suffer a period of “unwellness,” some young friends of ours have started a new service in our area. They have opened a hospital for sick or otherwise incapacitated pet rocks. An area in their parent’s living room is designated for this noble cause. I can assure concerned pet rock owners that rocks are treated with tender loving care if they ever have need of this facility.

Everywhere I looked, rocks were tucked warmly into comfortable beds. Some of the rocks were really quite pitiful. One was covered with red, yellow and blue spots and looked quite contagious. I was assured by the nurse on duty that rocks have entirely different diseases than people. We cannot catch their diseases anymore than they can catch ours.

Another rock was literally plastered with bandaids. Apparently this was a particularly sad case.  This rock had been deliberately maimed by a rock hound. He assumed that the rock had a heart of agate and brutally attacked it with his rock pick. Luckily his aim was bad and the nicks were superficial. The nurse was optimistic that the wounds would heal with time.

After visiting this hospital I find I am still unable to love a rock. I suppose I shall always remain insensitive to the needs and wants of these round, hard, little objects. However it is nice to know that if one should ever take a rock “to heart” there is medical treatment available.

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