Sunday, January 17, 2010

Separating Close Friends

A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close
NIV Proverbs 16:28]

I usually do not blog on Sunday as I am occupied with personal Sunday routines, today being an exception. I am still recovering from a double-whammy of sinusitis and bronchitis followed by gastrointestinal distress of unknown origin, possibly a reaction to a therapeutic iron dosage for anemia. I am passing the time reading and commenting on blogs as I've done in my short blogging hiatus.

One blogger with which I share the same given name has blogged about a subject that really touched my heart; the often heartbreaking effect of gossip, especially totally false, not-a-word-of truth-in-it, malicious gossip. Now that I ponder the last sentence, the words "malicious gossip" may be an oxymoron. See I'm Still Above Ground.

I am no saint and have been guilty more than once of participating voluntarily or involuntarily in this destructive behavior; no matter the subject, the behavior is destructive. Conversation so easily becomes gossip, especially in casual and personal settings; we become nearly unconscious participants.

Remember the childhood game we played called "Gossip" where one person whispered a sentence to his nearest contemporary who repeated it to the end of the class? The first and last sentences usually were worlds apart. What a lesson that little game taught, although I certainly did not "get it" at the time.

Since being in the small town public arena as an alderman, I have come to temper my speech with words like heresay, rumor, second or third hand information when I repeat anything. It is most difficult to dissect my constituents' stories as they are colored by their own perceptions as well as those who may have repeated tales heard in the local coffee shop clientele.

I am obligated to check stories out, my findings are amazing. Usually, there is a modicum of truth in every story, complaint or gossip, but that truth has been tempered and twisted by the perceptions of the various repetitions of the event.

I have innocently been portrayed in absolutely false terms. One of my personal and political friends told me what she heard I first declared myself a candidate for office. 'She is the personal friend of the Mayor and a drinking buddy of the Mayor.' I laughed at the absurdity. I am nearly a teetotaler who gets a buzz from one wine cooler which I have NEVER shared with the then Mayor. I was a supporter of the Mayor but never a personal friend.

In my professional life some person, whom I probably refused to sell a prescription drug without a prescription, a common problem which I never did, but some pharmacists did, turned me in to the Texas Board of Pharmacy as doing that exact thing. An inspector anonymously tried to buy Benadryl from me. I refused, almost before he finished his request; I could be rude when asked to violate the law. I found out from my employer he was an inspector. Benadryl in the early '60s was available only by prescription.

Finally, when I blog I am conscious when writing about people other than myself. The post about a 3rd grade bully (female) was from personal memory--what happened to me as I remembered it. I hope it was accurate, I poured over the words a long time, as the girl went on to a troubled life and adulthood. Further I use no names or alter names as I did my post about my third grade teacher, now deceased.

I will be posting Monday one of a series of posts I have been working on leading up to my husband's being one day late for our wedding. It is humorous, but I am trying to portray events with kindness and understanding, although I admit it certainly wasn't at the time. I spend the first episode explaining what different worlds and lifestyles from which we evolved. I've rarely, if ever, used his name.

Hopefully it's humorously fair, as fair as a Texan, who loves exaggeration, can be!

Thanks, Carol, for sharing how destructive gossip can be. It is like the proverbial pebble thrown in a pond; the ripples envelope a larger number of people than the initial event.

[The Holy Scriptures contain many warnings concerning idle speech. A link to one such collection is here. I am sure the many Sages of the ages also have remarked on this common malady of mankind.]


Arkansas Patti said...

Gossip is destructive. No way about it.
When I was younger and someone would tell me that so and so was sleepiing with someone they shouldn't, I would comment, "Oh... and how did you come to see them in bed?"
Wish I could say I was always so determined for the truth. I do try but thanks for the reminder to try harder. Most of us need it.
I do hope that this means you are feeling better. You have really been mauled by the crud lately.

faye said...

Glad you are feeling better.
I have missed your posts ...
always humorous and a good read.

lakeviewer said...

We are manipulative as a species, a sign that we never stop thinking on how to get out of trouble. That we make trouble for others is just too bad. This kind of thinking makes us dangerous in the animal kingdom, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your post.

And I thank you for visiting my blog and commenting there.

Who was it that said, "Children/people say the darndest things." Maybe Art Linkletter.

When I was in the Army (1953-1956) it spent a great deal of money and time running down "rumors."

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