Gossip-mongering…an Unnecessary Evil!

Ephrem Endale

A fellow we know recently had fallout with a longtime friend; and what a fallout it was; played out in front of shocked friends and things going dangerously close to physical altercation. It was said the intervention of a complete stranger who happened to be nearby saved the day. And I can tell you both of them weren’t the types you’d expect to roll up their sleeves and physically challenge anyone. Let me put it this way; both had married children who were already having children of their own! Ha! How about that! If that doesn’t give a hint or two I’m not sure what will.

The story was that these supposedly inseparable buddies had adventures which remained between them for decades. You know, those youthful excesses which you do not believe you were part of once you start thinking clearly as the calendars on the wall keep replacing one after another. Yes, in these uncertain times where tomorrow is just an imagination and only today was what is real talking about youthful adventures is a blessing. But them there are things you just can’t talk about after reaching a certain age and while being considered as a family man setting examples to others. Of course the incidents might have taken place three or four decades back when your afro hair and bellbottom pants were all there was to the world of civilization.

It happened that maybe by a slip a restless tongue or flooding the veins with too much of hard liquor the other man narrates a couple of such stories to a few guys who were friend to both. Indeed there were the types of stories which no one wants to recall. Especially when someone was emotionally or otherwise hurt on the other side there is absolutely nothing to tell or muse over. The stories told were more or less such stories. But the info (if we’ve to call it that) somehow made its way to the wrong crowd; that crowd which picks up every morsel of people’s private stories and turn them into some synopsis of a five-hundred page thriller. The fellow I was telling you about heard of it and that was when everything blew up. The sad part is the other guy didn’t even have the decency to apologize to his decades old friend! Well, that’s how socially twisted this world of ours has become! The friendship has passed the never-to-be-repaired line. These days there are a lot of stories where pure gossip which accomplishes nothing except soiling someone else’s reputation are tearing down friendships and even extended families.

Say someone has been spreading pretty bad stuff about a person you know well enough to stand in his defense. The gossip-mongers are so determined to bury your friend’s reputation as deep as they can the stories they create and tell outrageous at the least and heinous crimes at the worst.

“I wanted to tell you some story about your friend.”

“What story can you tell me I don’t already know?”

“You think he’s a dedicated husband and father?”

“What are you trying to say? I don’t think, I know!”

“But I’m spry to tell you I know secretes no one knows about him.”

“Oh, is that so? And what do you know about him that no one knows. Oh, sorry I forgot you told me they are secrets.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll tell you since you’re his best friend, and only you. Did you know he has three kids?”

“Don’t tell me you are that tipsy at this hour of the morning! What’s the secret about that? Of course the whole town knows he’s a father of three. Try another story.”

“I’m not talking about those kids. I’m talking about three kids he has from a couple of other women.” it takes nerves, and I mean real nerves, to try to keep one’s cool in such instances. The fellow is talking about someone you know as well as intimately as you know yourself!

“Oh; that’s some story, isn’t it? And where did you get it from? Maybe, I think, from one of the ladies?”

“I’ve my sources in places.”

Believe me and by the time this story reaches the other end of the town the number of children will grow to five. The wisest thing to do here is just leave the moron stuck there and go wherever you were headed to before he broke your rhythm.

People make plans. They plan about going  through school, landing a good job, building a house, marrying and having children. Isn’t that the nicest story everyone wants to hear! The only thing is life might not be as settled as one might think because of the armies of gossip-mongers.

The only thing some of us diligently train ourselves to do is spreading gossip; creating all kinds of stories we think would destroy whoever we want to destroy, and we don’t have shortage of such people.

Take my word gossip isn’t something you might easily brush things away with a wave of the hand; “Oh forget it; they can talk their throats soar and they wouldn’t stir a single hair strand on me.” There are people who make it their mission to teach the gossip- mongers some lesson, conventionally or in more ‘creative’ ways. Now those are real fighters determined to fight all the way to the final bell. Of course that hardly wins you medals; because during the process things might go out of hand and you might involve your innocent family. That’s why many prefer to keep their distances from the foot soldiers of the gossip-mongering contingent.

Have you heard of people confronting those who have been spreading all sorts of bizarre stories about me? I can assure you not a single hair strand would be ruffled on me.” That must be one hell of a determined fellow. But the story doesn’t end there. That is why thinking and rethinking one’s next move in the event of being victimized by gossip-mongers

The   7 August 2022

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