Many people don’t know this (and fewer care), but I was once a world-famous archaeologist. My infamy came from a procedure I developed to identify traces of biological matter on stone tools. Amino acids, starch, fat and blood were my targets. When I donned my archaeologist’s pith helmet, I informed my friends I was, “off to squeeze blood out of rocks.”

 We all had a good laugh about my biblical reference, nevertheless, that’s essentially what I did. Another way to look at it is that I analyzed the stuff left on dirty dishes. I chemically tested artifacts for signs of leftover food.

 The media got hold of the story. My lab had a block long queue of newspaper reporters milling about to find the latest news scoops such as: ARCHAEOLOGIST DISCOVERS NEW FOOD SOURCE; ROCKS FOUND TO BE RICH IN PROTEIN, MINERALS, AND ADDITIVES; and PEBBLES, THE PERFECT NATURAL FOOD. They believed I had the answer to the world food shortage.

 When they learned the truth, they were enraged. “I came all the way from New Westminster,” said one. “I wanted to taste boulder cutlets,” said another, adding, “No cutlets, no story; no story, no money. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

 This shows you how powerful rumours can be.

 Now the story seems to have come full circle. As a fitness professional, I write these occasional pieces that make me part of the media. As a crack columnist, I have the responsibility of reporting the news to the community. I do this by following leads, making smart-assed comments, and trying not to dangle too many participles.

 A while ago, I reported a late breaking scoop that the Federal Ministry of Health and Welfare is changing the Canada Food Guide. I also recounted that the changes are top secret. I wanted to get a sneak preview of what we should eat in the coming decade. I wanted to bring you, the readers, state-of-the-art nutritional information on healthy eating.

 They wouldn’t let me see the food guide.

 Not only that, it turns out they haven’t seen the Food Guide. It remains a top secret in the top drawer of the top nutritionist’s desk. She’s not talking. WE HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL OCTOBER.

 I suspect they’re adding a new food group. I suspect the top nutritionist got hold of my old research notes and discovered a new source of nourishment. 

 They want us to eat rocks.

 While I have never eaten rocks, at least on purpose, there is a scientific name for beings that do. They are lithophages, named after a famous geologist, Brian Phage, who had a ravenous appetite for nephrite.

 We may all be lithophages from time to time. It depends on how we define rock. When we brush our teeth, chalk is the abrasive in tooth paste. We guzzle milk of magnesia when we have a stomach ache (or, I suspect, when we order a vanilla shake), and we add salt to our food.

 Mud is a mixture of tiny rocks and soil. A friend confessed she ate a mud pie once. She said she liked it. I ate a spinach salad once that contained enough loam to grow a redwood.  

 Perhaps Ottawa is on to something. Male sea lions apparently eat rocks at mating season.  This fills up their stomachs so they needn’t pause to eat during this important recreational activity.  Sea lions give us a whole new meaning to the term, “getting one’s rocks off.”

 Perhaps Ottawa wants to fill us up with rocks so we don’t have hunger pangs on election day. A well fed electorate is a contented electorate. A contented electorate is one that will vote for the party that satisfies their hunger. Rocks may save the party in power from electoral defeat.

 At least that explains the secrecy.  After the next election, expect the taxes to apply to rocks.

 Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at michaelb@neilsquire.ca. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia.


3 Responses to “LET THEM EAT ROCKS”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Hilarious, Mike! Thanks for an early morning laugh. Really early – 5 a.m. your time. 🙂

    In the old days pregnant women sometimes ate clay. Dirt, excuse me, soil, has nutrition that feeds our gardens, why not us? (I worked five years with hydrogeologists, so I have to watch my language.)

    When the U.S. changed its food pyramid it was a big secret too. All they changed was the shape of the food groups and reduced the meat and bread portions. Why can’t they keep national security that secret?

  2. mikebroderick Says:

    There is a humourist in Vancouver named ric Nichol. He wrote for years in the Province newspaper. He once wrote that “…soil is just dirt that made it.”

  3. JODY Says:

    My cooking would fit right in. Maybe I am a chef ahead of my time with my “rock solid” cooking.

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