It was advertised on a box of Cheerios: Free book inside.
"A book inside? Finally, a marketing ploy that I can get behind," I thought to myself. The program was called Spoonfuls of Stories and it featured a series of several children's books. Apparently they've been doing this for years. Go General Mills!
We ripped open the box, bursting with anticipation, and discovered the book entitled "Everyone Needs A Rock." I was a little dumbfounded, I have to admit. I got that scrunched up look on my face that I get when something we just bought breaks. But then, still a little drunk with the joy of finding a marketing gimmick that didn't make me cringe or want to puke, I thought that maybe there's some really deep and wise moral behind it. Something really profound. Something about nature and how we are but infinitesimal specks in a vast and ever-changing universe and that no matter how difficult our life seems, when viewed through this lens, it really isn't that tough.
Actually no. It was about how you need to go outside, find a rock, put in your pocket, and carry it around indefinitely. What kind of fucking horse shit is that? What is General Mills trying to do to me? Filling my kid with ideas about carrying stones in his pockets. Next thing you know we have a three-room rock collection and the kid winds up a professor of geology at some community college making $38,000 a year and his best friends are inanimate.
The first two sentences of the book (I shit you not) read, "Everyone needs a rock. I'm sorry for everyone who doesn't have a rock for a friend." Then it proceeds to go into the author's ten rules for finding a rock that might make a good pal.
I thought it was supposed to be HARD to get your children's books published. Everyone says, "Oh, Children's Books, you really shouldn't even try to get one published it's so hard. Just put that manuscript in the drawer and make a documentary or broker an Israeli/Palestinian peace deal or something." Apparently, all you need is to have is a stupid-ass idea and the guts to type it out and send it in.
"Rule number three for finding a rock: Bend over."
You think I'm lying, don't you? I would think I was lying too if I didn't just pick the book up and randomly open it to rule #3's page. I'd think that this Bullshit Observer guy is just some wacko who exaggerates a lot for a laugh. Not even, my friend. Not today anyway. Today I quoteth the book of rock.
"Rule number four: don't get a rock that is too big."
OOOOKAY. Now I'm offended. The Cheerios think we're retarded. Like we're going to grab a stone that belongs as part of a fucking footpath and try to adopt the fucking thing.
"Rule number eight: The shape of the rock is up to you."
So as you can see, it doesn't get any better. You can imagine my chagrin as I furiously flip through the book trying to stumble on the underlying message and come up empty-handed. General Mills claims that the book is about, “...how joy is abundant in the quiet and beauty of nature.”
Now I'm definitely looking for a rock.