I’m running short on time again today and rushing to complete this post, which ended up being about rocks. Other than the memories of skipping rocks across the water, I’m not entirely sure I have much of a story to share. What comes to mind instead, are the various uses of the word rock that have slipped into various idioms in the English language. For example, you might say that something is “solid like a rock” to mean that Joe has been really hitting the gym at lot lately or to describe feeling very bullish about your stock portfolio. Or if you’re feeling rather mean, you might describe someone stupid as having “rocks in their head.” More dubious uses include phrases about “getting ones rocks off” which apparently has to do with sensual pleasures, but nobody has ever figured out just quite why. While ordering a drink “on the rocks” is a request for ice cubes, if you find yourself “on the rocks” it might mean that you’ve hit hard times. Sorry about that. But one thing is clear, rocks have become an important part of our casual conversations.
The word itself also refers to an action, which means to sway to and fro or side to side, causing additional confusion. It can also refer to what you do to get a crying baby to be quiet and go to sleep. The fact that mothers can do this made them seen as the most powerful people on earth and spawned the phrase, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” However, it would have been simpler to just say, “don’t mess with mom.” Of course, there’s the musical version of rock & roll, which has been shortened to just rock and doesn’t sound at all like the much-loved music of the 50’s. No matter the genre, if you love to play and listen to your music really loudly, then folks might say that you’re “rocking out,” just before texting you to tell you to turn that crap down. And, if you make a fuss when everyone around you is blindly going along with a dumb idea, you’ll be accussed of “rocking the boat.” Which in most scenarios, can really only be viewed as a compliment. Please keep doing that.
There are, of course, plenty of other phrases that are inspired by the actual mineral itself. One can be “steady as a rock,” which is quite steady as rocks don’t have legs. Something can also be described as “hard as a rock” as when someone overcooks a biscuit or, again, has a dirty mind. Which makes the less comon phrase of “like a shag on a rock” sound naughty even though it refers to being left all alone like a sea bird nobody has heard of. Well, when it comes to these phrases, I think I’ve “hit rock bottom” which is probably how one might describe this ridiculous post. I’ve no idea why all these things came to mind instead of a childhood story, but I’ve learned never to think too much about that. Instead, I’m just going to blather on with whatever pops into my head, and if you’ve come this far then bless you. And hey, I actually made it entirely to the end of the post, just before I had to hit the publish button and rush away. Rock on!
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!