Gary Dahl who in 1975 invented the Pet Rock died last week at age 78.
From the New York Times:
One night in the mid-'70s, he was having a drink in Los Gatos, the Northern California town where he lived for many years. At the time, he was a freelance copywriter ("that's another word for being broke," he later said), living in a small cabin as a self-described "quasi dropout."
The bar talk turned to pets, and to the onus of feeding, walking and cleaning up after them.
His pet, Mr. Dahl announced in a flash of bibulous inspiration, caused him no such trouble. The reason?
"I have a pet rock," he explained.
A pet rock, Mr. Dahl quickly realized, might just have legs.
"People are so damn bored, tired of all their problems," he told People magazine in 1975. "This takes them on a fantasy trip — you might say we've packaged a sense of humor."