My old friend Jimmy and I have always had a slightly different take on things. You see, I’ve always been a sort of straight-up science guy–hell, Bill Nyes is one of my heroes, along with Tyson, Sagan, and Krauss. I’ve always been skeptical of any kind of pseudo-science, whereas Jimmy, dumb shit that he is, falls for every conspiracy theory and junk science blog he reads. The moon landings were faked, there’s a face on Mars; I’m surprised he doesn’t belong to The Flat Earth Society. I’ve always thought he’s just smart enough to be dangerous, and he is.
Recently he returned from a trip to L.A., so I stopped in to see how it went. He offered me a beer, but I felt the Sobriety Stone in my pocket and refused it. Jimmy thought stones had magical powers, but I just carried it to remind myself not to drink. I’d been sober now for several months and I attributed it to my stone and running. Yes, I traded in one addiction for a better one, the runner’s high.
As we sat down at the table, I pulled it out, and set it down. It was a nice smooth, polished piece of amethyst. “The word amethyst means not drunk, you know,” I said.
“Yea, something about the Roman god of wine, Bacchus, turning a girl named Amethyst into crystal, and pouring wine on her. Anyway, I’ve come to be a bit fond of her–my sober companion.”
“Well, I have a stone that blows yours out of the water. I’ll go get it.” He ducked into his bedroom, and, because he always had to one-up me, I wondered what he’d bring out. An elephant carved out of blue tiger’s eye? A crystal for his crown chakra? A piece of fool’s gold?
He came back and set an ordinary-looking rock on the table. We both looked at it in silence. Finally, I said, “That’s a rock.”
“It’s a healing stone,” he answered. “You wouldn’t believe where I got this.”
“I don’t believe I would.”
So he tells me this story about how he was coming back from L.A., and somewhere in the Sedona/Flagstaff area his car over-heated. He pulled it to the side of the road, and waited for it to cool down. While he was sitting there listening to the radio, he noticed someone coming toward him from the desert. Pretty soon he could see it was an old, bent-over Indian woman, her brown face sere and wizened. She seemed to be coming directly toward him, so, thinking she might be seeking help of some sort, he got out of the car, and started walking toward her.
“No, no!” she yelled, coming close now, “You must not step here–this is sacred land!”
“I thought you might need help,” he offered.
“I need a ride into Flagstaff,” she said,” and I will give you a healing stone from the sacred land for fare.”
So he gave her a ride to Flagstaff, and she gave him the stone, and the mysterious Indian woman disappeared into the city streets.
I laughed out loud. “That is such an obvious scam, I don’t believe you, man…a rock?”
And that was when Jimmy came right up to me, looked me in the eyes and said, “You don’t know everything.” The words stuck in my mind. You don’t know everything.
“I know enough not to believe in magical rocks,” I said, picking it up. “I tell ya what–I will believe in it 100 % if this stone can erase this old scar from the back of my hand!” I held it up in my hand and turned it so Jimmy could see the scar. We both watched for a minute; the scar was still there. “As I thought.”
The next weekend, my Sobriety Stone proved its lack of power as well. I fell off the wagon and swan dived head-first into the pavement. As soon as my party-hungry friends heard I was drinking, they started showing up, and soon my place was packed, and I was drunker than hell. When Jimmy showed up, and made fun of my impotent Sobriety Stone, I decided to embarrass him in front of everybody. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
“Where’s your magic rock, Jimmy?” I was so loaded, I was slurring. “Listen, everybody,” I said, “I held Jimmy’s rock in my hand like this and I…and I…” –my drunken vision suddenly focused on the back of my hand, and there was no sign of any scar. It was completely gone. I’d had it for years! “I…I guess…I don’t know everything,” was all I could say.
(originally posted July 2016)