True Story© Who Can I Trust?

Do you have a Work BFF?
You know that person at work who, while they may not be your literal best friend, are the one you are most likely to shoot the shit with and shares your disdain for most other people in the office.  You might not even kick it with this person outside of the 8-5, but for that time in the office they are your buddy.

I don’t currently have one of these.  I am in a group of people in a small department that talk too damn much for me to want to establish this kind of communication with.  What I do have is a wildly entertaining dance of observing who talks to whom and assessing how I can use that to my amusement every chance I get.
I guess that makes me my own Work BFF.

When I first came to my current department, two people already knew me and one knew of me (one more person has been added since, with no turnover).  Knowing what I knew of the two who already knew me, I knew that it’d be in my best interest to say nothing more than necessary to not be branded some kind of recluse (even though I kinda am).  That is, unless I wanted the shit to be spread all over the company and various other places.  As time went on, I realized how petty and fucked up the whole situation was, people talking about people – but ALWAYS to the same people – behind their backs, using callouts/sick days as a punitive measure against everyone in the department.  Hell, you name it, it was all things that remind us why some women just can’t be expected to get along in small spaces for long.
[Note: I’m the only man in this department]

As ever, the group decides that since I will be around that they would involve me in their catty shit and basically extract what they can get out of me to either wantonly discuss among themselves later to trash my name or for God-knows-what otherwise.  As I watch people to make my decisions on how to proceed with them, especially in a new situation, my mind was already made “man, I ain’t tellin’ these broads shit I don't want repeated!” before they ever came my direction.
The issue was that it would be unavoidable to say NOTHING without at some point putting my fingers in my ears and running down the hall screaming “LALALALALALALALALALALALA!!!” and that was not feasible because there were no halls on the 6th floor, only an elevator and front/back staircases, so I would have to devise a plan to seed the conversation with something incredibly (or insane, or both) to work this in my own favor.

So this one day, the lead gossip and information collector corners me into conversation about my then-recent separation and pending divorce and how that worked with custody of our kid and my plans for kids in the future.  In my mind, my conscience is saying “dafuq? This shit is none of her got damn business!” but I decided that I would turn this into that test I needed for it to be…
I explained our split custody arrangement in as little detail as possible and that I had no designs on any more children – mainly due to me not wanting to be the stereotypical black man with kids all over the place – and that I would take precautions to avoid becoming that.  Made uncomfortable by the “rough black upbringing” talk, she skipped that point (and the "what if you meet someone who wants kids?" line of questioning that goes with it) and took the bait, right on to the “precautions” clause.

Her: “Precautions?”
Me: “Yes, precautions.”
Her: “Like what?”
Me: “Do I really need to get into detail?”
Her: “Well, you did mention it.”
Me: “Sure, I did but--…”
Her: “See, well now I am curious.”

Look, I knew what it was and I try to offer people an out when I know I am about to take them for a ride.

Me: “Nah, you’re being nosy.”
Her: “No, I just care about you, like a little brother or something like that.  Did you get like a vasectomy or something?”

See?  Lying ass.

Me: “Nope.”
Her: “Well what could be these ‘precautions’ then?”
Me: “Well…  Since you asked.  Wait, you sure you want to know?”
Her: “Stop playing and just spill it.”
Me: “Okay, so our insurance covers most things related to birth control and sexual health and other shit pretty well, right?  Same goes for vasectomies, but the fact of the matter is that it is still an EXPENSIVE procedure to have done.  I guess that is to sell up the finality of it overall.  Faced with mortgage and bills, continuing to care for a child and all of the other expenses in my life, I couldn’t swing it when I went to the urologist.”
Her: “So what did you do?”
Me: “I’m telling a story here.”
Her: “Sorry, jeeze.”
Me: “Anyway…  Unable to justify the cost of the procedure at the moment, I hit the internet looking for other options.  I read about this witch doctor down in the bayou who would basically do this ritual that would render me unable to cause pregnancy while still allowing me to maintain a stiffy as they occur.”
Her: “See, now you’re just shitting me!”
Me: “I am totally not!  Went to New Orleans back in September to meet with him.  It was crazy, he had this dude beating on a drum while three people danced around me with my legs up.  Once the drumming stopped, they stopped and all repeated this prayer over my bawlz in a language I couldn’t BEGIN to identify.  The room goes silent for 5 minutes and he looks at me and smiles, telling me they were done and that it would be $75.00”

Look… I knew the story was bullshit, any one of the two of you reading this knew that the story was total bullshit.  I have since learned that chicken little here regularly convinces herself that the sky is falling based off of a perfunctory Google search of the most mundane things so I can’t honestly say I am surprised at the effectiveness of my story here.

     And BOY did it work.
For the 3 years since, I have been asked slick little questions about voodoo and shaman magic and all kinds of random shit from SEVERAL people – including the remaining three in the department – who would have no reason to go there with me if they were not being blabbed to by someone too daft to realize they’ve been put on.

     What it did, though, was establish early on that I can’t trust a damned soul and that I need to adapt stories for individuals.  Yes, even when I tell three people the same thing, I need to vary it and mind who I told what to so I know who to yell at when it comes back for betraying confidence.
I eventually skipped the nonsensical storytelling as a defense mechanism and basically just stopped telling anyone anything.  If people are gonna talk, let them talk.  No need to feed them shit to talk about.


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