A bit like small talk, gossip has never really been my thing. It’s not a moral issue at all, I just have always had way more information about people then I ever wanted in the first place. Some people are so excited about their little bits of gossip and I’m like, “No don’t tell me, I’m jaded enough about people already. Leave me in ignorant bliss, please!”
I married a man who absolutely hates gossip. That and he can’t stand women who swear. He married somebody with the vocabulary of a sailor that could probably put the Navy to shame and I married a man that completely baffled me with his dislike of gossip. (I’m laughing here, but since Violet, my atheist blogging buddy, has expressed some recent concern about my lack of submissiveness, I have actually accommodated hubby’s dislike of both women swearing and gossip and have managed to avoid them both. Well, except for the occasional bad word that slips out once in a blue moon. Love, Violet, submission is love.)
My husband was born in a small town, lived here most of his life, so he has seen the damage that gossip can do, up close and personal. I never paid much attention, but I took his word for it. The bible also has several passages about the dangers of gossip. Since then I have learned what lies behind that and I really get it now.
A few years back, some people got so bored they started talking about us and my family. This rumor was going around that we had gotten a divorce, there were rumors of affairs, bankruptcy. This is a small town, people take these things seriously. Family and friends were calling to make sure everything was okay. Some women were coming up to me in the grocery store and expressing condolences. Believe it or not, I was clueless and couldn’t figure out what all the sympathy was about.
One night hubby and I were on the sofa and the sheriff arrived with papers to serve. First names were exchanged and the papers received. A little while later, hubby asks, “Honey, are you divorcing me?”
“Not as far as I know,” I said.
“Well, apparently you are and you want the Corvette.”
I knew something was up, since we don’t own a Corvette. We sat down and read the papers and had a good laugh because we realized they didn’t belong to us. To this day however, hubby wants his Corvette back.
I was so concerned that somebody was missing their papers and the entire due process of the justice system had been fouled up by the error, that I took the day off to return the papers. When I got to the sheriff dept and tried to explain the mistake, they just looked at me as if, “yeah right lady.” I tried everything, explaining that the names don’t match, pulling out my ID. Finally I said, “Listen, these aren’t my papers and I’m not even getting a divorce.” I kid you not, Barney Fife says quite smugly, “Well that’s not what we heard.”
Arggg, life in a small town is not all it’s cracked up to be.
That’s the amusing part of the story. Not so amusing however, was that our social security numbers somehow got transposed in the court system of another county and I wound up owing child support for 3 children I am fairly certain I didn’t give birth to, and we discovered this mess right in the process of refinancing our house. Due to my alleged child support default, our interest rates on absolutely everything went through the roof, we were denied the home loan we wanted, and I spent nearly a year communicating with the 3 big credit agencies that are such a tangled mess of bureaucracy, the odds of your ever winning that game are slim at best. In the midst of this mess my license to work got lost in cyberspace and I spent nearly four months unemployed. My license was also connected to my social security number, as nearly everything in the world is, in spite of the fact that SS numbers are never to be used for the purposes of identification.
So you see, one piece of gossip combined with a few clerical errors has the potential to snowball down a hill picking up speed until it is so out of control it simply takes on a mind of it’s own.
That and I am now doomed to live the rest of my life with a man who mourns the loss of a Corvette he never even owned.