The telephone is ringing...


Psstt...Hey! Hey you! Guess what a little birdy told me?!

That’s always how it begins. 

Hey, did you hear Bob is moving? 

Bob is our 75-year-old neighbor.

Yeah, he’s finally leaving Torrington! Guess he joined the circus. 

Does that even sound like an accurate statement?

Yep! That’s right, I think he might be a little too old, you know, to be a trapeze artist. 

See, that’s how it all starts. The next thing you know, Bob is moving a small family of squirrels into his house.

People talk. And people living in small towns like what we are blessed with in Goshen County are no exception. We talk. 

Sometimes it’s hard not to get wrapped up in the chatter. Sometimes it’s difficult to walk away from a conversation as dramatic as daytime television. But do we really need to believe it?

How helpful is believing everything we hear?

Example, Punxsutawney Phil told us spring was coming and, while it’s surely on the way, the last few days of snow flurries and freezing temperatures have us all second guessing the accuracy of his statement. 

How many times have we been told we’d see rain? Or that time we were told Y2K would break all the computers? 

Gossip is worse. You can’t tell the difference between a fabrication and the facts. 

Sure, process of elimination tells us Bob isn’t joining the circus. He’s just going with his grandkids TO the circus. 

You see, gossip is like the old game of “telephone” we played in grade school. For some of you youngsters, as a class, we would stand in a line and teacher would whisper a sentence into the first student’s ear. The sentence was always something simple like, “The brown dog jumped over the fence,” and before it traveled to the end of the line it was repeated by each student into the ear of the next classmate. Finally, the last student would repeat the sentence aloud which was normally, “Susan eats crayons in the back of the classroom.”

There may not even be a “Susan” in our class, but we know what’s been happening to all the crayons now. Or at least we think.

The point is, sometimes the information we hear, the information we repeat, isn’t truthful. Sometimes the information we regurgitate is a complete distortion of the actual statement. 

Not everything we hear is truth. Sometimes messages get distorted. Facts get confused and sometimes they were never true to begin with. 

The next time we hear a juicy piece of gossip, we all should consider whether it is believable. Not everyone has good intentions in the words they speak, so it’s important to ask ourselves whether the story is just to hurt another person. 

Gossip can be a dangerous tool but always remember, if someone is busy talking about your life, chances are, they are pretty unhappy with theirs.