Herald Journal Columns
July 10, 2006, Herald Journal

Didja hear?

Did you hear that Sally and Bob were found in the dugout the other day and when the police came, they were . . .

I bet you’re just dying to find out what Sally and Bob were doing.

But of course, Sally and Bob don’t exist (OK, so people with those names exist, but in this story, they are just imaginative).

The purpose of my unfinished story was to get your attention.

Did I?

Gossip tends to do that to people. We always must know more.

If I am about to tell you who my big secret crush is, and then I stop mid-sentence, what are you going to do?

Shrug and say “Oh well, guess I’ll never know?”

No, you’re going to just beg me for a name.

I have heard my fair share of gossip in my 16 years.

Yes, I am guilty of spreading it. But I swear it was true gossip! . . .

I’m not sure what it is about others’ lives that entice us so much, but we just HAVE TO KNOW.

It’s like the car pulled over along the highway.

You know that it’s impolite to stare, but you just have to see if you know who it is anyway.

Or you’re sitting in the coffee shop, “minding your own business,” when you accidentally overhear a fight between a couple. And your radar just casually tunes in to their private troubles.

So what do you do after you see that foreign neighbor of yours pulled over on the road, or that “perfect couple” from church fighting over their relationship?

You tell someone else.

And so, the gossip chain begins. When you tell these juicy stories to your friends, you add a few twists to the story (“He slapped her right across the face! I could hardly believe what they were saying to each other!”) and it’s not so bad.

It’s when the judgemental remarks and “spicing up” go too far that there’s a problem.

People, today, are much too obsessed with other people’s lives.

I see it every single day.

You may think your hushed tones aren’t being intercepted when you’re spreading the latest rumor about your boss’s latest excursion to the Hamptons, but you never know whose innocent ears are being filled.

If you think gossip in “the real world” is bad, hold that thought.

You haven’t seen gossip in action until you’ve been to a modern day high school.

Somebody does something on Thursday night, and by noon Friday, at least 90 percent of the student body, along with several well-informed teachers, know about this person’s little “mishap.”

The power of gossip is quite amazing, but that doesn’t make it good.

So, my case in point is that gossip has become all too common in the world today.

People are always going to be doing mischievous things, like Sally and Bob, and they’re always going to be caught and, therefore, talked about.

So, I guess my advice for the week is: Don’t get caught doing something that others will want to talk about!

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