Human understanding evolves. This applies to how we perceive and treat our pets. Consider that just a few decades ago, many cat owners treated cats badly in certain ways without really knowing it. Most people bought cats from pet stores, thereby supporting kitten mills. Few people spayed or neutered cats, so overpopulation ran virtually unchecked. More humans let cats roam freely between indoors and outdoors, exposing them to predators, accidents, and disease. But many people got educated. Today we’re more likely to give cats better food, better care, and a place in our families.
Now consider the rock.
For millennia, humans have regarded rocks as mere debris or raw materials. We dynamite rock beds to clear paths for mountain highways. We grind up rocks and put them into sidewalks and patios, imprisoning them until they’re cracked and worn. We mine gravel, taking millions of rocks away from their homes for use in construction. Homeowners place rocks outdoors to “guard” flowerbeds, exposing them to foul weather, erosion, and bird poop. This cycle of abuse starts early in life. Children use rocks as weapons without the rocks’ consent. The kids go home each day to beds and warm meals, but rocks lie bloodied and cracked like so many fallen soldiers.
Some humans have resisted the cruelty. Early North American settlers found and identified a pet rock in New England that has become famous — Plymouth Rock. San Francisco, not to be outdone, claimed its own pet Rock in Alcatraz Island and put a federal penitentiary on it. Paul Simon held rocks up as creatures to be emulated in “Loves Me Like a Rock,” while the Who sang of perseverance and dedication in “Long Live Rock.”
Today, we at Catster begin the process of ending the cycle of abuse. April 1 marks the conversion of Catster into Rockster, a website devoted to the pet rock. The timing is sadly serendipitous. The New York Times reported Tuesday that Gary Dahl, the man who brought pet rocks to prominence in the 1970s, has died. In Rockster today you’ll find articles on rock care, rock style, rock news, and how rocks have helped individuals in their personal lives. We also declare today the first Take Your Rock to Work Day.
Here are three shots of my pet rock, Stoney, at Rockster HQ in San Francisco. I found him on Pescadero State Beach in California, where I proposed to my wife (twice over), Daphne. I know Stoney loves me because he’s shaped like a heart. I guess you could say Stoney loves everybody.
Rockster executive editor Vicky Walker’s pet rock, Hugh Granite, is a former feral rock and still isn’t comfortable with office life — so Vicky has to take the office outside to him. Fortunately Hugh Granite is comfortable around dogs — so many of them have peed on him in the forest in the past — so he’s content to sit and watch as Vicky and Monster get some serious editing done.
Here is Rockster community manager Lori Malm’s pet rock, Pebble, with her dog, Hank.
Here’s Rockster customer service rep John D. Williams with his “lap rock,” Rusty, on a break.
For the rest of this post I leave you in the capable hands of Michael Leaverton.
May God help us.
7 Tips for Taking Your Pet Rock to Work
I don’t know what my colleague Keith Bowers told you up there, but pet rocks are not to be dipped in honey and thrown off Dover cliffs at midnight (did he say that? I sort of scanned it). Anyhow, if you’re bringing your rock to work today, read this first. If you’re already at work, head home to get your rock. Tell your boss you forgot to wear shoes or something.
1. Before the big day
Before you take your pet rock to work, it’s wise to get him checked out with a vet. If you don’t have a vet, look for one with a lot acronyms after her name, like DMN, MA, VMD, Ph.D., DACVB, CAAB. The more the better: IRL, PLU, HBO, TWC. Seriously, if we don’t see at least five acronyms, we keep walking — past the rock vet in our town to another rock vet in the next town, all the way to Canada. Our favorite acronyms are LLC, UPS, and PDQ, but you might have your own, so we encourage you to continue walking until you see them. Don’t settle! Take all year if you have to (but do not go into Canada).
2. Commuting to work
Once your rock has been cleared by a vet, it’s time to leave the house and commute to work. Breathe deep, hum the theme music to Rocky, hold your rock high, and throw open the door — it’s you and your rock against the world!
Actually, no. You’re just going to work with a rock. Calm yourself, take a quiet breath, and smoothly enter the flow of pedestrian traffic. Hold your rock in your palm slightly away from you, as if you are checking for rain. Every two minutes, hold up your finger and exclaim, “It’s just a pet rock! Nothing to fear.”
It’s going be a great commute.
3. At the workplace
You’d be amazed at how many people think they can simply walk up and fondle a pet rock without permission, like it’s the promotional stress ball on your desk from the workplace bonding camp you attended last summer. Counter these rude people with a stern, “My rock doesn’t like to be molested, thanks.” If they say something like, “It’s just a rock, dude,” throw a cup of water on them and race out of the building.
Often, your workplace will provide an area where all the pet rocks can gather, like the conference room that everyone’s afraid to enter. That way, your rock can play with all the other rocks. If your rock acts timid among other rocks, you should lie down among them, letting the rocks jump all over you and wrestle on your stomach. Spread some dirt on your face so the rocks feel at home. This is the exact moment your boss will come by to ask how you’re doing on the Henderson account.
For lunch, give your pet rock only the best, highest-quality food. Coq au vin. Escargot. Frutti di mare. To save money, you may bring a your homemade lunch (boiled ham sandwich) in a brown bag and eat it in the bathroom of the best restaurant in town. Remember to tip the attendant ($5 is customary) (if that seems high, remember you ate your lunch in a stall, you cheapskate).
5. Coffee breaks
Does your rock like coffee? You’d be surprised. Go to the office kitchen and pour a thin layer of coffee into a shallow bowl, add milk, and set your rock in the mixture. Turn out the lights, put the bowl on the copy machine (provided you have a copy machine in your office kitchen), and stand quietly against the back wall.
6. Break time!
Obviously, if you’ve brought your rock to work, you’ll be afforded plenty of opportunities to take her outside to gambol in the office park, usually for 15 minutes every hour. If your boss is not aware of this, inform her in no uncertain terms that you’ve seen her secret file cabinet and you know where the bodies are buried.
Once outside, if your rock is content to just sit there … like a rock (ha!) … use the opportunity to scan the want ads for a new job. You never know when this sweet gig is going to end. Could be today!
7. Going home
Congratulations, you’ve successfully taken your rock to work! Now it’s time to leave, but not so fast. Tomorrow we’ll cover how to take your pet rock home from work, so make a bed in the conference room and sit tight for the duration. We’ll get you and your rock out of there soon.
Time-killing tip: If you’re intrigued by liquid nondairy creamer, now’s your chance to pour 100 of them into a mug and see what’s it’s like to drink the stuff straight. Spoiler alert: It’s pretty tasty!
Do you have a pet rock yet? What do you think of Catster’s change? Is your pet rock at work with you today? Let us know in the comments!
Stay tuned to Rockster to catch more articles in this series: How to Take Your Rock on an Escalator, How to Take Your Rock to the Moon, How to Take Your Rock to a Paul McCartney Concert.
Read more about pet rocks on Rockster: