Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pet Rocks vs. Pet Pebbles

Do you remember the Pet Rock craze of the 1970s? Some guy in California conceived the idea to manufacture a small replica of a pet carrier, placed some straw and a little rock inside it, included a “pet care manual” and sold it to millions of gullible souls like myself for $3.95. The craze lasted less than a year but it garnered millions from the lemmings who just had to have one!

I thought the manual that came with the rock was the best part of the gimmick with its faux serious instructions on the care and training of your “pet.” I remember teaching my pet rock to sit and stay, but he never quite got the hang of the “roll over” command, I always had to help him.

I also remember my mother giving me one of “those looks” when I came home with the Pet Rock box one afternoon.  Her look of disbelief grew when I started reading the manual to her, and when I took the Pet Rock out of its box and placed it on the coffee table so it could be entertained watching television with us, as the owner’s manual suggested.

A few days later I returned home one afternoon and noticed a tiny pebble on the middle of the coffee table where I usually placed my Pet Rock. I thought at first it was something that must have fallen there by accident, carried in on an article of clothing perhaps. But as I went to pick it up to toss it away, I saw that it had a little smiling face!  I carried it into the other room where my mother was and asked her, “What’s this?”

“That’s my new Pet Pebble,” she answered. “It’s a stray I found on the lawn, it needs a good home.”   This statement was made with a totally straight face.

I put the pebble back on the coffee table where it remained for quite a while. My mother and I had some really humorous exchanges about that pebble, she insisted it was more intelligent than my Pet Rock because it had “evolved” with a face and had managed to survive in the wild before she found it.

When my Mom passed away some years later, I found the little pebble in the drawer of her coffee table. I don’t know what ever happened to my Pet Rock, and it really doesn’t matter to me. But I’m glad I still have this little pebble and the wonderful memories it evokes. And in a way it has been pretty valuable to me in a monetary sense also—I’ve saved a lot of money laughing at silly fads since this Pet Pebble appeared in my life.

Stretch thinks we should give the Pet Pebble a place of honor among his other valued collectibles.

No comments: