i’m a gossip junkie

Written by Duane Scott

GENERAL EDITOR I'm a writer, nature lover, a friend, a singer (in the shower), a Cheetos lover and a Snuggie hater. And God and I are buddies.

March 22, 2011

The people from my town love to gossip.

Secretly, so do I.

With a population just over four hundred people, it’s small enough to know almost everyone and large enough to always have breaking news.

“I heard your family bought that business… I sure hope you can manage it better than the previous owners have!”

“Yeah, after her parents’ divorce, she sorta went off the deep end. She’s not even living in town anymore. Heard she moved in with a boy down south.”

“That grey house across the street from yours? I don’t know what’s going on, but there seems to be a suspicious amount of male guests stopping by.”

Like I said, small enough to keep up with, yet large enough to be scandalous on so many levels.

And I love it.

I thrive on my visits to the bank.  The tellers seem to know everything happening in town.

And you must not pay for your gas at the pump. If the manager happens to be on duty, she’s always willing to show you the latest footage she caught on her surveillance camera.

Oh, and make sure you stop by the auto body shop. The gentleman who owns it is car-side before you can even roll your window down, and he’s more than willing to tell you who had a little too much to drink and hit the ditch.

If I knew how to quilt, I’d seriously contemplate joining the club at the nursing home. Of course, their senile murmurings of their grandson’s marital issues might not always be accurate, but at least I’d have news.

Yes, I’m a gossip junkie.

So imagine my surprise when I found out I was moving next month.

With woeful eyes, the bouncy red-haired teller at the bank told me, “I’m gonna miss you… so when do you make the move?”

“Um… what are you talking about.” I stopped endorsing the back of the checks and stared at her.

“Well, we heard the news.” She glanced at the other teller and lowered her voice, “You got accepted into the nursing program right?”

“Yeah, I did….”

“And we’re so happy for you, we really are… but we hate to see you leave.” She shook her head sympathetically.

“I’m not moving.”

“Wait. You’re really going to drive all that way to school?” Her voice began to escalate and the other teller glanced up from her computer.

“Yeah. It’s only a thirty minute drive.”

“But we heard….” The other teller cut in, “Someone came in here and told me you’d been accepted at Mayo Clinic.”

“Yeah… I was.”

“Well, depending on how fast of a driver you are, that seems a lot further than a thirty minute drive.”

It took five more minutes before I had the rumors settled. Yes, I’d been accepted by the college a long way away, but I’d also been accepted by the local college. As I retold the story the laughter heightened and soon the banker and loan officer joined us in the lobby for a non-farewell party.

And as I left the bank I realized…

True to form, gossip rarely brings people together, but rather tears them apart. And now looking back, as a retired gossip junkie, I realize how many times I’ve jeopardized my friendships by this addicting sport. It has always been and will always be honest communication that has the power to span the gaps caused by misunderstandings and save friendships.

And today, it saved me a hefty moving bill.

-Duane Scott


38 Comments

  1. Zee Kleshchar

    heh… i love/hate those moments when someone thinks that s/he know something and yet they don’t know the actual story and they assume… that’s what the gossip’s basically about: assumptions… *sigh*

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      So true zee.

      I mean, i once heard you were moving to America! 🙂

      DS

      Reply
      • Zee Kleshchar

        heh… that’s what all my friends are sure i will do eventually… *shrug* so you might not be that far on the reality.

        Reply
        • Duane Scott

          Zee,

          You do realize that America’s really big and if you move here, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be neighbors to all your friends.

          Unless of course, they all moved to New York or something.

          Let me know when you come here. We’ll visit ya!

          Reply
  2. Leslie Rowe

    PSSSSSSTTTTT…did you hear about….

    Oh.

    Wait.

    Never mind.

    Signed,
    convicted, recovering, and needing the mercy

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      Leslie,

      Thanks for making me laugh. I don’t think we even really know each other so we’d have to gossip about Japan or something…

      Thanks for the comment!

      -DS

      Reply
  3. Jason Wert

    To me, gossip is on the same level as walking up and punching someone in back of the head. Both of them cause damage and the person usually doesn’t know who did it.

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      Jason,

      That is such a simple way of looking at it. 🙂

      Thanks,

      DS

      Reply
  4. Megan Willome

    Your town seems to work like mine. The bad news: there’s no getting away from it. The good news: you are known.

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      Megan,

      How many people are in your town?

      -DS

      Reply
  5. Anonymous

    Man, letting down the gossip mill in your hometown? You should have just moved to keep them happy. lol

    All kidding aside, I’ve been doing all I can to avoid gossip myself. I even tell my students who come to me “to vent” about someone else that I am not the person they need to talk to about it. They need to talk to the person they are upset with and work things out. All gossip does is destroy my image/confidence in the person that is being talked about.

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      Jason,

      As a single man, I’m guessing you’ve dealt with your fair share of gossip. I know how it is because I’ve been there too many times myself. I really appreciated the words you wrote, Jason.

      -DS

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        I definitely have been the object of gossip more times than I’d like to count, but the biggest one that was going around for a while was that I am gay. Apparently if you’re in your upper 20’s and single, you don’t like the ladies.

        I put an end to that lie pretty quickly.

        Reply
        • Duane Scott

          Jason,

          HA! Well, Ironically, I was pegged that too in college because, despite countless offers from women, I didn’t want to date anyone. At one point, as a test, a girl whispered a location and something dirty about well, let’s say “chocolate” in my ear and I just smiled and said, “Thanks, but I’m not into you.” After that, my response became, “Oh, so you think that? Well, I guess I am well kept and I do have a nice fashion sense… so thanks for the compliment!”

          If you DO get married, make sure it’s to a woman.

          THAT puts the rumors to bed once and for all. 🙂

          -DS

          Reply
          • Jason Vana

            DS-

            I didn’t deal with that rumor in college, cause I was dating a girl almost all 4 years. Almost got married as well (long story). It didn’t start until a few years after I graduated and I was still single and hadn’t dated anyone for a while (I live in a small town and for a long time was THE single young adult in my church). Oh well, now people just tell me I will never get married and die alone. So much more encouraging. HA!

            And, um…thanks for telling me to get married to woman. I was a little fuzzy on that one. LOL

            Jason

          • Duane Scott

            Jason,

            At least they’re preparing you for what may happen.

            I suggest you pull out the Jason Biggs costume again. That’ll probably get you a wife… or rug burn.

            -DS

          • Jason Vana

            Dude –

            Way to discourage this guy in finding love. =(

            And I am wearing part of the JB costume right now….my boxers! HA!

            JV

          • Duane Scott

            Jason,

            Want something more encouraging?

            If you don’t find someone, at least you got me.

            I’m in this bromance for life. 😉

            DS

          • Jason Vana

            Now my heart’s all aflutter… <3

            bromance for life! lol

          • Duane Scott

            Jason,

            Like I wrote today in my post, yes, bromance for life.

            Connected through God. 🙂

            -DS

  6. Jessica

    And don’t forget the ever bible belt way of gossiping via “prayer requests”. That never gets old.

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      Jessica,

      Ha! I didn’t even think of that!

      I don’t live in the Bible belt but I DO know that form of gossip.

      -DS

      Reply
  7. Melissa Brotherton

    The gossip I share with my 6yo, 4yo, 2yo & 8 month old is very scandalous…”Did you hear that so-and-so is still in diapers? I know, right?”

    In all seriousness, I find that I am always up for some FB, Twitter gossip…great reminder of the consequences of allowing yourself to engage in it. 🙂

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      Melissa,

      Look at the seeds you’re sowing in their little hearts. 🙂

      I’m gonna go tell the people of twitter that you’re kids are turning out just terribly due to lack of parenting. 🙂

      I’m kidding.

      I’ve decided not to gossip anymore.

      -DS

      Reply
  8. Alicia

    Oh, I can so relate! Way back when, I worked in the retirement home here in town – yes, lots of available gossip there- and well one man congratulated me on my big move to the next town over. I said “oh, I didn’t know I was moving” he replied “well, it says so right here in the newspaper- ‘welcome, Steve and Alicia to *insert exact address here*’ ” I very politely told him that if this were true my husband had some explaining to do. We did own the property listed, but it was an income property that we flipped- as we did many houses at the time.
    Ever since then I am much quicker to stop people and let them know that I will wait until I hear it from the direct source, or I don’t need to know it.

    Great cure for gossip is to BE the gossip!

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      Alicia…

      So their IS gossip at a nursing home… Hmm…

      Will you teach me to quilt?

      In all seriousness, I’m going to use your example of needing to hear it from the direct source before believing it. That is a GREAT way to curb my addiction.

      -DS

      Reply
  9. Janie

    Duane, you have such a delightful way of turning an everyday situation into some interesting writing. I also live in a very small town. I’m sure the majority are over 60 years of age and are meeting everyday at the one McDonald’s for coffee. There is one pharmacy, two banks….i’m sure you get the picture. I hate the way everyone knows your business. Esp. in light of my antics over the past couple of years. The only positive thing for me is that I don’t seem to care what other people are talking about. It just shows they have nothing better to do.I’m not saying it isn’t imp. to have a good reputation, because it is. I just know God doesn’t gossip and forgives me of all those mistakes I’ve made here in this tiny town of St James, MN.

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      Janie,

      I’ve been to McDonald’s in St. James.

      And someday, I’m going to meet you there for coffee.

      And when that happens, I’ll have a little talk with the others who gawk.

      I’ll be nice and gentle with them.

      But people need to know we all have flaws, and God loves everyone the same regardless if we fail or not. Self-righteousness is one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen and I won’t allow it to cloud our friendship… ever. Because Lord knows, I have LOTS and LOTS of flaws.

      Praying for you,

      DS

      Reply
  10. kim stuff

    I did live in that small town which has more gossip?? Yes it goes back in time! Now that I am older, I realize that gossip is useless….God also convicts

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      Kim,

      I don’t think we’ve met. *holds out hand*

      It’s a pleasure to meet you.

      And I appreciate your comment.

      -DS

      Reply
  11. S Etole

    I think those are called “full service banks” …

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      Susan,

      HA!

      Never thought of it that way.

      -DS

      Reply
  12. Anonymous

    It’s tough alright! I’ve gotten caught listening to gossip by the subject (I think… it’s not like you can go up to them and say “So did you hear all that? If so, I’m sorry for listening, and if not, well, nevermind…) Then I try not to gossip, and then get branded as being untrustworthy by BOTH sides because I obviously am with THEM… It seems like I lack balance. Oh well… Good story! I hope you like Minnesota! (heehee)

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      Helen,

      I know what you mean. If you don’t gossip, it seems like a person can lose friends. But the few you DO manage to keep, they will trust and be more faithful than 300 gossipy friends. 🙂

      -DS

      Reply
  13. Kristinherdy

    I’m in hear no evil, speak no evil mode from gossip now. The hardest part is not listening. Not repeating is easier for me.

    But I did hear this one about Jason. He told me himself, so it’s all right ….

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      Kristin,

      If you heard it right from Jason, I’m sure he’d never mind if you twisted the details to make the story a bit more interesting.

      All kidding aside, I’d do better and just ask him myself. 😉

      -DS

      Reply
  14. Clare

    Its more like Chinese whispers in your town than gossip… On the flip side I don’t really know anyone in my town of 20,000 and would love to have someone to gossip about!

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      Clare…

      You can start gossiping about me. I would find it very entertaining. Okay, maybe not after what I wrote on your Tim Tams post. 😉

      Cheers,

      DS

      Reply

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i’m a gossip junkie

by Duane Scott time to read: 3 min
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