Our last blog posting on the care and training of rocks drew emails and letters from rock owners anxious to build upon the article’s understandably superficial lessons. Today, we offer targeted advice in response to your questions.
William G. of Hartford, Connecticut writes: “For some time I have observed Sparky, the favorite of my rock collection, frequently disappearing, sometimes for days on end, only to return covered in bruises and what I can only characterize as a smug, satisfied expression. What do you think is happening and, more importantly, what can I do to keep Sparky safe at home?”
William G., it’s my sad duty to suggest that Sparky isn’t actually a rock but a rolling stone. If that proves true there is little you can do other than accept Sparky’s natural inclination to periodically roam the highways and byways whistling Bob Dylan songs at sub-atomic auditory levels. This is perfectly natural behavior on Sparky’s part and nothing you should take personally. Besides, rolling stones deserve the same tolerance the Holy Bible teaches us to extend to all our fellow creatures (except, perhaps, gays, blacks, Asians or undocumented immigrants).
Ethel B. of Hingham, Massachusetts asks: “Is it bad form for me, as a young single woman, to take
my favorite rocks along with me on my dates? I ask because my rock collection clearly acts jealous and resentful when I display interest or affection towards possible suitors.”
Thank goodness you wrote for our advice rather than acting on well-intentioned impulses. Ethel B., DO NOT take your rocks with you on dates. As you’ve already seen, rocks are terribly jealous creatures with so little emotional control they will attack a rival suitor with deadly, gravity-defying intent. If your rock collection is large enough, it is conceivable your suitor’s very life could be at risk. Far better to pretend you are working a second job than to flaunt your active dating life in front of your rock collection. In fact, given that your rocks have already displayed disturbed emotions around this subject, I would strongly advise you not to sleep with them in your own bed. Of course, if there’s one particular rock you find especially attractive . . .
Moving on, Max W. of Clearwater, New Jersey writes to ask: “What is the ideal number of rocks for one’s rock collection? There are times when I think I may have more rocks than I can emotionally care for. As you know, rocks are such needy creatures and once ensconced in your life so very difficult to get free of. Tell me what you think, but please keep in mind I love all my rocks.”
Of course you love your rocks, Max; we wouldn’t suggest otherwise. To answer your question, however, there is no ideal number of rocks for one’s collection. Human beings, like rocks themselves, are all different, with different sets of needs. You might be a two-rock person while I might be a 2000-rock person. Nobody is wrong in this matter. There is no right and wrong when it comes to sharing your life with these stolid, long-term companions.
Lastly, for this week’s “A Rock’s Throw”, a number of you have questioned whether I was being subtly political in writing last week’s “How To Train A Rock.”
Ira R. of New Paltz, New York complains: “I don’t like that you tried to slip a column so overtly political right past me. Fortunately, my 78 year old mother who has asthma and collapsed cheek bones pointed out how similar “A rock” sounds to “Iraq.” How to train a rock. I get it. And thanks, Ma!”
And Shirley S. of Bedford Falls, California, writes: “What the hell was that all about? It wasn’t funny; I didn’t get the jokes; if there was a political message, it flew over my head. Who the hell are you writing this crap for anyway?”
Well, Shirley, you should be able to figure that out.
I write for the rocks.
This was the second in a trilogy of essays detailing “How To Train A Rock,” which coincidentally is also the name of my story and essay collection. To read the first essay in the trilogy, go to here. For more information about “How To Train A Rock,” go to Amazon or my web site.