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The Slice: These rock heads deserve a good stoning

Sat., Nov. 17, 2007

I guess I could offer a reward for information leading to their return.

But I’m not sure how to describe the missing rocks.

I had a geology class long ago, but don’t remember much. The one thing that sticks in my memory isn’t even from that course. It’s from a geology class my sister-in-law took.

It seems she had a professor with a strong accent. Every time he said “developed” during lectures, my sister-in-law heard “deviled up.”

She assumed it was geology-speak.

Anyway, she wrote “deviled up” on a quiz and this eventually led to a conversation that cleared up the confusion.

Someone stole my garbage rocks. I’m still shaking my head about it.

Here’s the story.

Out near my garage, I’ve had a cluster of four landscaping stones. They are big and heavy. The largest might weigh 40 pounds or more.

They are mostly white and have rounded edges. In terms of shape, they sort of look like extra-large gourds.

Next to this tidy rock pile was a thick concrete disk. Maybe it was once part of a bird bath. Or perhaps it was some sort of lawn ornament. I don’t know.

What I do know is that it made a perfect tamper.

You see, one of my hobbies is manual trash compaction.

On weeks when the garbage barrel was full to the brim well before collection day, I would open the lid and place the concrete disk on top of the load. Then, depending on how much stuffing-down I needed to accomplish, I would position from one to four rocks on the disk.

Garbage rocks.

It was a good system. It always made room for additional trash bags. And lifting these small boulders in and out of the barrel gave me a little upper-body exercise.

It’s too bad I don’t have children, because I feel certain they would have enjoyed making fun of this routine.

“Hey, Dad, will you have to use all four rocks after Thanksgiving? Ahahahahahahaha.”

The other afternoon, I noticed that something was wrong. The garbage rocks were gone. So was the concrete disk.

They had been stolen. Must have been someone with decent strength.

In the instant of that realization, I became an enthusiastic proponent of the death penalty.

In time, I regained a sense of proportion about the crime. Of all the bad things that can happen, having some rocks ripped off is nothing.

Nevertheless, it reminded me of an unhappy truth. There are some truly crummy people in our midst.

I’m tempted to refer to the thief as garbage. But I won’t. Maybe no one has ever expected anything good from him.

Still, I hope one of the rocks falls on his foot.

Today’s Slice question: What have you had stolen from your yard, porch, garage, et cetera?


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