How We Can Learn From Rocks


I was in the hall at work today when I saw Ric and Vanessa standing around talking. So, I figured, this would be a good time to sneak up behind Ric and give him rabbit ears. Yep, it’s Friday afternoon and Ric needs rabbit ears. And I have the fingers for it. And lots of practice. So I began my stealth approach, ducking behind walls of open space here and corners of open space there, getting closer and closer to the unsuspecting Ric, who seemed to be talking tres interesting things today because Vanessa wasn’t walking away, falling asleep or yawning.

Now, the problem with open space is …well…it’s open. You can see right through it and no matter how hard I ducked here and there all Ric had to do was turn his head slightly to the side and my rabbit ear run would be kaput. And, of course, he turned his head. So I looked down the hall and then behind me, and down the other hall and in front of me, trying to look as nonchalant as possible. But the game was up. So I joined their conversation and…well…hey, find out what Ric was saying that was so interesting that Vanessa wasn’t falling asleep.

But my arrival seemed to have changed the topic.

Ric put his fist out towards me, you know, the old let’s-punch-each-other’s-fist-just-for-the-hell-of-it-in-public bonding ritual. So I punched Ric’s fist. He said, “No, put your had under mine.” I thought…chocolate. Yum. I put my hand under his fist and waited for it to open and drop chocolate in my hand. But what dropped into my hand wasn’t chocolate. It wasn’t anything to eat; in fact, it was even harder than the melba toast that took a tooth out of my head in Cuba a few weeks ago.

It was a rock.

A metamorphic rock, the kind that forms when a bunch of different rocks get together deep in the earth under pressure and heat and a touching exchange of chemicals…and they become one. Something the people of the world should try someday.

But there I was with a metamorphic rock in my hand wondering, “Wtf?” Ric, all smiley-faced like this J said it was all mine, that he’d just chipped it from a statue in front the building we worked in and he wanted me to have it. But he wanted a five thousand word essay on his desk by the end of the day.

Yeah, Ric…I’ll get on that right away.

But then I thought, why not? I used to collect rocks when I was a kid. I even had a prospector’s pick. One summer in Winnipeg, I reduced a five foot high chunk of sandstone down to fossils embedded inside it. I hammered away at that boulder night and day for a whole summer. I traded the fossils for comic books and other shit, keeping just a few of my favorites. That wasn’t the only place I used my prospector’s pick…ever hear of a place called the Grand Canyon? It used to be a mountain.

So I figured, write something about this rock that was so unexpected gifted to me. OK…so what can I say about this rock? Well, for starters, it doesn’t talk much. It’s a great listener. Something else the people of the world could learn from metamorphic rocks. Wouldn’t it be great to talk to someone who wasn’t texting every five minutes?

Another thing about this rock…it doesn’t move much. It’s a very still rock, like it’s in a state of eternal meditation as it contemplates the miracle of its oneness with itself. I like that in a rock. I think of it as a sign of great character. This rock has great character. And oneness. I wish the people of he world could sit quietly and meditate on oneness. Maybe we wouldn’t spend so much time killing each other. Hating each other. Separating from each other. After all, at one point in the timeline of making this thing called the people of the world…we were one. How did we stray so far from that?

This rock doesn’t complain about anything. It just sits there, happy with its state of being. Accepting its rockness. Happy to be a rock and everything a rock is. So, I asked the rock, “Are you a happy rock?”

And the rock stood up and said, “Yeah, Biff, I’m a happy rock. As are all the rocks of the world. Until some little prick like you comes around and chips us away to get our fossils. Hope you enjoyed the comics.”

And the rock sat down on my desk…all rock and no anti-biff-with-a-prospector-pick attitude.

And I guess that’s it. What do each one of us do?

To be as happy as the rocks.

BTW: Hey rock…the comics were great. But I’ve always felt a tinge of regret for taking that big fossil-laden rock out of the world. Kissed a girl on top of that one night. And then reduced it to fossils. Go figure.

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