True Story©… Let Them Talk
People talk too
I should say that I ALSO talk too much as well, but since no one listens to me anyway, my talk is of the “to myself” type, for the most part.
As much as I talk
myself, I listen better than some people might give me credit for. I may not REACT well, but I am receiving what
is being said while I am in earshot.
Another funny thing is that people have observed that I also don’t REPEAT what was said while I was in earshot, so I am often loaded down with other people’s blathering about others. I’m holding secrets for people I don’t even know that I will either die with or sit in my rocking recliner and babble to the dogs when I am seventy, no in between.
It could – no,
SHOULD – be said that the most important person I am holding secrets for is
myself. I mean, I sit and listen to
people talking about details of other peoples’ lives, why in the hell would I
ever divulge factual information that would assuredly become the center of one
of those tales?
There was an operative word in that last sentence there, stay tuned.
People that know me, know me. They generally have/have had enough of my interpersonal trust to be allowed inside my circle and see shit happening as it happens. It basically comes down to the case that if they’re blabbing MY business, they’d need to answer for their own hand in it. I ain’t worried about what those people might say. They exist as my confirmation of my most farfetched life stories.
Y’all remember the
Telephone game? You verbally tell one
person one thing in secret and they pass that information on one other person,
who does so to the next, and so on and so forth, until they last person to
receive the story tells what they know – or what they think they know – back to
you. Universally, the story is
bastardized before it gets back to you to the point of being mostly
unrecognizable. Doesn’t matter what kind
of circle you’re running in, the outcome of this game is absolute.
Well I like to play a grown-up version of this game. When people I know talk too damned much strike up conversation with me that I know won’t stay between us, I play a version of this game. I’ll talk, sure. The thing to consider is whether I have told them anything real. I take it a step further, though. If I am pressed for similar information from five different people, I will tell five different versions of the exact same info just to see WHO is telling what to whom.
I used to work in a department where I had nothing in common with anyone and the stress of being around them caused me enough stress to render my blood pressure barely manageable. It became a drag on my physical and mental health, and a recent separation from
wife a woman I once had a wedding with didn’t help things even a small
Despite not having shit in common in interests with the sole young-ish black dude in the whole building, they would constantly make fake conversation with me. Recently separated, still not having actually met my now-current wife person, I was fully in the midst of a several months-long hoe phase.
“What’d you do this weekend?” they’d
ask. I would be at a crossroads… I could tell the gritty truth of what I had
done on Friday night immediately after work, then Saturday evening and then
early Sunday afternoon before my daughter came home but that conversation might
land my ass in HR. Or I could lie.
“I went on a couple of dates.”
Lying my ass off, knowing that even THAT answer would draw them further into prying for things to talk about when I was out of the office for my afternoon poop. Over the course of one day, I told each of three people a SLIGHTLY different version of the lie about my “dates,” and I did that just about every time I was asked for any little details about my time away from work. Just detailed enough to seem real, but also just salacious enough to get them talking when I was out of earshot.
… and I waited…
The funny thing
about feeding juicy gossip to someone who you KNOW can’t keep their fucking
mouths shut without telling them too much is that they will attempt to get more
out of you. When they can only get what
you give them, they will attempt to get it from someone – ANYONE – else.
So here we are… A few weekends of me out in the world behaving like a then-single man. Never told anyone other than my brother who these women I had been out with were, never appeared or even connected to any on social media anywhere else. But these coworkers? Hungry for information with which they could do nothing.
Eventually I got
tired of trying to come up with slightly altered versions of my real life and
just beelined to my desk and put my music on without saying much more than the
bare minimum to anyone unless it was work related.
Several months later, I get a message from someone in another department… She is totally freaked out.
Friend: “Look, I know you were recently single a few months back, but I heard some SHIT about you.”
Friend: “First of all, I know better than to be listening to gossip, and--…”
Me: “Second of all, consider the source…”
Friend: “Yeah, that’s the WILD part. People are saying similar but different things!”
Me: “Yeah, like what?”
Friend: “Like you pimp on the weekends. You have several girlfriends. You might have got chlamydia. And the wildest one was that--…”
Me: “The wildest one is that I have a baby on the way.”
Friend: “But… You… Haven’t…”
Me: “I haven’t posted any women or discussion of any babies on FaceBook.”
Friend: “Which means?”
Me: “Which means four people are talking too damned much.”
Friend: “So you knew about this?”
Me: “KNEW about it? I been using it! Now I know who I can trust to receive information and shut the fuck up about it!”
I was in that
department for three more years. Not
because I loved it so much that I just HAD to stay, but because the money was
too good to jump ship until something better finally came along.
My time there made me no new – or forever – friends. What it DID give me was a fool-proof plan and method of gauging whether or not someone could or should be trusted.
Smart people around me know to question things they didn't see themselves or have photographic evidence of.