Category Archives: How To Train A Rock

Tales Of The Book Part Twelve


Move it, he said, there isn’t much time.

So you stepped on the gas or walked a bit faster or hurried your phone conversation, and still arrived late for your next activity.

Faster, he said, only losers slow down.

So you worked late at the office or left the party early or rushed out of the house without kissing the kids goodbye, and still never made up for the time you lost.

Hurry up, he said, you’ll miss your big opportunity.

So you took a second job working weekends or cheated in business or cancelled the family vacation, and still never found the opportunity you were looking for.

Skip the formalities, he said, you’ll have time for that later.

So you forgot your anniversary or never showed up for parents night at school or stepped over a friend to better your position, and still found yourself dreaming about all the things you didn’t have.

Don’t slow down, he said, time grows shorter every minute.

So you pretended to stay young or cheated on your marriage or forgot to watch your children growing up, and still never found someone who could understand you.

Pick up your speed, he said, time’s almost up.

So you grew bitter and resentful or left your family or started a list with everything the world owed you, and still grew older every day.

Final seconds, he said, last chance to make good.

So you looked around and wondered where all the time had gone or searched out those you had wronged or started making friends with priests, and still couldn’t get his voice out of your head.

Move it, he said, you’re running out of time.

And finally he was right.

You ran out of time.

The above is from the collection, “How To Train A Rock” by Paul Steven Stone, available on For more information, go to, or the author’s site at

In Remembrance Of The Ozone Layer


I’m writing this note to apologize for some of the things you’ll be inheriting when I go to my final reward. It’s unlikely your father will have time to make amends then, so I’m sending my apologies now.

First off, I’m sorry about all this war and destruction that’s running riot on the planet. We older Americans tried to put an end to war, but not enough foreigners and strangers would listen to us or take our orders. After that, what choice did we have but to send in soldiers?

At least we tried.

My apologies also for those crowded roads you and your families have to drive on. My generation would have built more public transportation but, in all honesty, we just didn’t give a damn. We never travel by train, so why the hell should anyone else? Try not to hate us too much when you spend half your days driving to and from your jobs.

Come on, guys, honk if you still love your father!

And speaking about cars, I sincerely apologize for the mega-tonnage of planetary resources I seem to have consumed during my brief stay on Earth. Quite frankly, when I think about the tons of materials used to satisfy my individual desires—all the buying, spending and consuming it took to keep me feeling whole and happy—I find myself surprisingly without shame or remorse.

I’m sorry, but there it is! Your father is a selfish hungry pig and knows it and, apparently, revels in the raw honesty of it. He also loves driving around in big cars and buying thousands of unnecessary plastic items.

Hey, somebody has to.

And speaking of raw honesty, children, I want to apologize for the way I desecrated the land. Lord knows your father, as a responsible businessman, couldn’t let all that good, solid earth remain undeveloped and glorious in its natural state. Much as I hated to, if I hadn’t sliced up the land, ate up the woods and fields, and built wall-to-wall malls and sprawls, think of all the money I wouldn’t have made…!

And then how sorry would I be?

Lastly, I want to apologize for leaving you a world much filthier, cruder, harsher—and far less friendly—than the one my father left me. It seems a shame people treat each other so roughly these days, or that values have been so perverted by money, false gods and distorted self images. Of course, if that’s the price of admission to the RICHEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, I want to see you kids first in line to buy tickets.

Just remember two things, children…First, I never promised you a perfect world. Second, I’m too selfish to help create one.

Oh, and did I apologize for that hole in the ozone layer…?

* * * * * * *

With all that’s happening in Copenhagen these days, it seemed appropriate to share the above item from “How To Train A Rock” by Paul Steven Stone.

My Affair With Tiger

Face it, girls, you want to claw my eyes out, don’t you? Or whack me across my 36 DD’s with a golf club, am I right? Well don’t blame me if I’m young, gorgeous, full-breasted and obviously the cat’s meow. And don’t expect me to go after my favorite Top Cat by giving the media any of the tittle-tattle behind our torrid love match. There’s no ‘best three out of four’ here, girls. I am and always will be the best. Just ask Tiger.

Oh that’s right, Tiger isn’t talking. Except for that little phone message someone leaked to the rag mags. The one where he asked me to re-record my phone greeting so it’s a little more anonymous and a little less…well, sexy. Just in case his wife calls.

What’s wrong with a message where I state my name, hair color and unadulterated preference for billionaire celebrities? “C’mon, lighten up,” I told Tiger. “Besides, as far as your wife knows, it could be Hugh Hefner calling me, or some other rich celebrity; maybe even Brad Pitt.” You girls must have read in Intruder Magazine how he and Angelina are occupying separate bedrooms these days, whatever slim solace that provides poor Jennifer Anniston.

I always liked Jen better anyway.

But as far as Tiger and I go, we are soul mates, no question about it. Otherwise, why would I be the first girlfriend he calls whenever he’s in Boston and has an open hour to spare? Yes, I know, girls. An hour may not seem like much to you, but with Tiger and me it’s always been quality rather than quantity. Or, if I can be crude, length of rope rather than length of time, if you know what I mean.

Doesn’t God always seem to give bigger portions to those who have everything! Or is the word ‘proportions’? I’ll have to ask Tiger next time he’s in town.

Anyway, unlike some of you kiss-and-tell queens, I’m not saying a word about my affair with Tiger. Except to say, in my neck of the jungle, once we learn to hunt tigers, we then learn to be good little pussies. Gr-r-r-rr!

Tales Of The Book Part Eleven


The first thing one notices about rocks is they are essentially quiet creatures. Adverse to long discourses or extended bouts of conversation, they nevertheless are quite engaged in life. Constantly pondering the deepest and densest of life’s mysteries, thereby distracted to an apparent state of inertia, they are thought to be dull companions and highly unsuited to racquet sports or most other forms of physical activity.

Here at the International Rock Training Institute we have discovered, and proven, I believe, that rocks are far more capable and sentient than we humans generally believe. In fact, it’s the rocks’ very ability to conceal their considerable capabilities from the general population that underscores the scope of their hidden powers.

So, what to expect when you bring home one of these seemingly inanimate creatures as a pet?

Expect love. Lots of love. Pound for pound, there isn’t a more loving, open-hearted creature than a rock, though they can be fickle at times. Until recently it was thought rocks heated up in the sun because of the sun’s rays. After much research, we now know their rising temperatures are psycho-romantic reactions. Rocks tenderly exhibiting warm feelings for their cousin, the Sun. Similar to the way their temperatures will flare-up when they’re with their masters. Unfortunately, such displays of affection often go unnoticed, leading to a deep-seated fear of rejection and humiliation in most mature rocks.

As unfortunate as that may sound, this fear of rejection will prove an important tool in helping you train a rock of your own. A simple example will prove the point.

Let us pretend we are training a rock to keep us company while watching TV in the evenings. Right off, most of us would make the mistake of placing the rock on a nearby chair or perhaps on the TV itself.

Ask yourself, could you watch TV if you were sitting on top of the TV? Of course you couldn’t. And neither could a rock.

As for the chair, it demoralizes the intimacy-starved rock to be placed so far away from you. It derails the very trust and intimacy you were seeking to instill. Far better to place your rock on a nearby coffee table at the beginning of the training cycle. The idea being, of course, to gradually inch the rock closer to you on successive evenings. By tantalizing the trainee rock with your increasing proximity, you enflame its desire for closeness, and will soon find not only a docile rock sitting on your lap, but a companionable one as well.

The majority of rocks that visit the International Rock Training Institute come here for our “Good Companions” curriculum, which trains rocks for companionable relationships with all types of masters except toddlers, who need to be first trained not to eat rocks or stick them in their playmates’ eyes. We also offer a curriculum focused on “Security” for rocks being channeled into careers as Watchrocks or, possibly, projectiles.

Training a rock requires, well, rocklike patience. Much like human beings, rocks form impressions and psychological patterns in their early years that help shape their entire lives going forward. These impressionable “teen” rocks should be treated with great care and with great tolerance for their periodic mood swings and narcissistic bingeing. Should you discover you’re in possession of a teen rock rather than a mature one, don’t expect to win its trust anytime soon.

Unfortunately, we won’t have time this week to discuss “strays”, the wild, untamable rocks you find scattered most everywhere. Suffice it to say, many of the wild stories one hears about these highly independent rocks are true. They are unstable creatures to say the least. Unfriendly, sharply cunning and not very trustworthy. I would not want a stray rock living in my home, not even with my children fully grown and out of the house.

More about strays later on. For now, I’ll close this week’s “A Rock’s Throw” by inviting you, as always, to send me your questions about rocks and their proper training. Again, I must sternly request you do NOT send me the rocks themselves. And whoever threw that rock through the Institute’s lab window yesterday, I should warn you your rock has already conveyed your vital information to the police who are now on their way.

I forgot to mention, rocks are notoriously disloyal.

The above is the eponymous story from the collection, “How To Train A Rock” by Paul Steven Stone, available on For more information, go to HowToTrainARock. com, or the author’s site at

Tales Of The Book Part Ten


Doug Holder is a local (Somerville) poet and literary figure of great renown. Co-founder of The Bagel Bards, a literary community that meets (and eats) each Saturday morning at the Davis Square Au Bon Pain, Doug took a few minutes from his busy schedule to cast his reviewer’s eye upon “How To Train A Rock”. Note of full disclosure: Doug is a friend of the author.