The grass ain’t greener, the wine ain’t sweeter on either side of the hill. My family moved a lot, it is not like my papa was a rollin’ stone, as in the hit song by the Temptations, but my dad used his GI Bill of Rights to go to RCA school after WWII to became a service technician and hot got a lot of job transfers. My Dad was from Brooklyn and I was born in the same house that he was born in. We moved to Massapequa on Long Island just before my brother was born as the house on Avenue K in Canarsie Brooklyn was getting too crowded for my family with three kids now. My parents found a better house in a better neighborhood not that far away and we moved to Farmingdale. My Mom was from Milwaukee and she missed her parents, so my dad got a transfer out there and we moved into an upstairs apartment.
We had this dog named Lucky who was a German Shepard and a good dog, but she was afraid of stairs, so my dad had to carry her down and up the stairs all the time, which was a pain. We moved into a house on 54th Street and then we moved again into a house on 67st Street. My Dad always thought it was too cold in Milwaukee, so we moved back East and got a house on Park Street in Oakwood Heights in Staten Island. My Dad worked Rahway, NJ and he found this perfect house on Clark Lane in South Plainfield, New Jersey where we finally settled down. I was in Eighth Grade and I had lived in eight different places from Canarsie, to Massapequa, to Farmingdale, to a Milwaukee apartment, to 54th Street, to 67st Street, to Oakwood Heights and finally South Plainfield and through all of that, I had gathered no moss.
People who are always moving, not establishing any roots from one place to the next, or those who avoid responsibilities and cares are thought of as being gypsies and the phrase “A rolling stone gathers no moss”, is used to describe this transient behavior. Another more modern meaning of this phrase references that a person must stay active to avoid stagnation. These two meanings seem to contradict each other, as establishing roots breeds the moss and this seems to be a good thing, whereas not staying active creates stagnation and here the moss is detrimental.
Moss is a green plant, a very small hardy plant, sometimes only one cell thick, that grows slowly. It uses light for photosynthesis to produce nutrients to grow just like regular plants. Moss plants have no roots, buds or seeds, only leaves, stems and thin stringy filaments called rhizoids to anchor themselves to rocks and trees. There are good mosses and bad mosses. The bad moss is one that is dense and covers the top of a potted plant restricting any water from entering, especially if it gets quite dry as it is then rather hard to re-wet. Moss is an excellent alternative to mulch since it absorbs water, prevents erosion and debris can be blown off easily because of its compact growth habit. It is also useful in mosquito control since it does not become stagnant, but purifies water.
People pay a price for always being on the move, and this effected my older sister more than it bothered me. She didn’t want to leave her old friends and have to make new friends, but I think that I enjoyed being a wanderer and I became the type of guy who would never settle down, roaming from town to town, going through life without a care being as happy as a clown. I was a mixed up kid in High School and when I graduated I went from job to job never wanting to make anything out of myself, just caring about the paycheck and in the seven years before I matriculated, I probably had at least 20 different jobs. This wandering stage even continued after I got my degree, as I worked as a consultant and I had at least 40 different jobs in Engineering.
Brian Jones thought that this would be a good name for a rock band and although Mick Jagger tried to sleep with most of the models in London, he did have a long-term friendship with Kate Moss and the supermodel posed topless for Vogue magazine, covered by Mick’s iconic cape.
Written for Fandango’s February Expressions FFE Daily Adage – A rolling stone gathers no moss.