My first reaction when I heard “The Rumor” was complete and utter shock…the kind that knocks the breath out of you for a couple of seconds before you can regain enough composure to form a sentence. When I did just that, the first words to come out of my mouth were:
“Who would be dumb enough to believe that?”
The sad thing is… there were, apparently, dozens of people who were more than happy to believe a story that was beyond a fabrication…it was an outlandish, ridiculous lie. I know this with 100% certainty because “The Rumor” was about me.
I took a deep sigh as my mind rewound back to my childhood and teen years…a time when I lived in a tiny town where people talked about each other as a pastime, a hobby, and a team sport. As I remembered those days long gone by, my next words were:
“It’s the same as it ever was.”
I recalled a guy who I went to high school with in that tiny town. He probably would never remember who I am, but I definitely remember him, most notably because of the day that I learned he had tested positive for HIV. That’s an incredibly sad thing to learn about anyone…but in this case, it was shocking because it turned to not be true. That’s right…it was a rumor…apparently started by someone who felt rejected by him, and this fabricated story was her vindictive way of “getting back” at him. I wonder if her cruel form of retribution actually made her feel better.
To spread a story like that about anyone is a horrible thing to do. It’s the kind of thing that can ruin a person’s life if enough people believe it, and unfortunately, plenty of people did. What was disturbing was the rate at which the rumor spread…and how blindly people accepted it as truth…but most of all, how some individuals took delight in repeating it to anyone who hadn’t heard “the news.”
Now, I have expressed my disdain for these kinds of rumors to my friends on several occasions, and I have heard all of the standard responses: “People have boring lives”, “They’re just jealous”, etc, etc…but the truth of the matter is, it goes further than that. It boils down to complete and utter stupidity, ignorance, and…well, stupidity.
I left that tiny town as soon as I could, and I never looked back…migrating to the metropolis of Los Angeles, which is where I truly grew up. In LA, people never believe everything that they hear, because they are savvy enough to realize that a lot of people are full of crap. Moreover, unless the subject of said rumor is a celebrity, no one cares one iota about what anyone else does.
It may be because I lived in Los Angeles for so long that I was shocked when I found out that a ridiculous, unbelievable rumor had circulated about me, and that certain current and former residents of the “tiny town” were the ones to have participated.
Are you effing kidding me?
Friends have jokingly told me that I should be flattered…that I should feel like a celebrity being targeted by a cheesy tabloid magazine. Well, I’m certainly not a celebrity…and they (and the magazines) are usually making big bucks because of such gossip being generated at their expense.
When one reaches a certain age, they have a responsibility to themselves to question things that they have no firsthand knowledge of…and when they blindly accept and repeat just about anything that titillates them, they need to understand that they have chosen to be an ignoramus. And no, I am not calling anyone a “name” when I say this…it’s a straight-up fact. And if you’re not doing it due to ignorance, then you are a low, low person.
So, to those people who have started and participated in “untruths” about me…expect to receive a bill in the mail. After all, you’ll, pay for your next copy of The Enquirer. And as for everyone else?
“Believe none of what you hear, and half of what you see.”