Worry 'Bout Yourself
Keep Your Gossip To Yourself
It’s hard to resist a juicy story on this island. “This person did this…They’re dating that person and this person…At the same time!” On this rock, there is an endless supply of gossip to dish out. I’ll be honest, I hate it. I don’t want to know who’s sleeping with whom. I don’t want to know that someone may or may not have done something wrong. I don’t want to know that he or she cheated on their spouse. I hate when I hear something about someone that puts them in a bad light. I just hate it. Life is hard. I don’t know what their life is like. I don’t know what they’re going through. I don’t even know if what I am hearing is the truth. More than likely when we hear gossip, it’s about someone going through a low point in their life.
To me, Nantucket feels like a mini Hollywood, where each islander is a ‘celebrity’ and the ‘paparazzi,’ all at the same time. “Look at all the weight they’ve lost/gained!” “So-and-so was leaving the bar with ______ last weekend.” “Somebody was having lunch with ________. Strange, because I thought they weren’t friends anymore.” “Mr. X was pulled over on Sunday night.” “The Blippy family lets their little girl dress like a boy.” “My neighbor spent $50,000 on __________.”
Are our lives so empty that we need to spice them up with someone else’s dirty laundry? Are we so unhappy with ourselves that we must make ourselves feel better at the expense of someone else? Or is gossip just another social platform and natural part of being human?
I am reminded of the old game of “Telephone.” The first person in the circle whispers something to the person sitting next to them. That person repeats it to the person next to them, and so on until the “Whisper” has made its way around the circle. The last person to hear it states what they heard out loud. Generally, the “Whisper” has no resemblance to whatever the first person stated!
I have a few friends who, when they come to visit Nantucket, immediately ask what the gossip is on the island. Usually, I have no idea, and I really don’t want to know. If ever I gossip, I always have an unpleasant feeling in the pit of my stomach. You know the one I mean. It feels as though I’ve done something wrong. I loathe that feeling and I dislike myself for participating in something that is mean-spirited.
Aren’t we all tired of talking about each other? Or is this just how life is? Am I wrong? If I’m not, what can we do to stop the gossip?