Dear Annie: For the past 14 years, my family has not spoken to me. Worse, they have spread lies and brought lawsuits, none of which they have won. The gossip has been hurtful and damaging to my small immediate family. No one, of course, has ever asked to hear the truth. Life is short, and every time we extend an olive branch, it is thrown back at us with more vindictiveness.
Could you please find and print the essay titled “My Name Is Gossip”? Maybe someone will read it and understand, if not for my sake, for others. – Pennsylvania
Dear Pennsylvania: How sad. We can only hope your family will see the column and open their hearts.
My Name is Gossip
My name is Gossip. I have no respect for justice. I maim without killing. I break hearts and ruin lives. I am cunning and malicious and gather strength with age. The more I am quoted the more I am believed. My victims are helpless. They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face. To track me down is impossible. The harder you try the more elusive I become. I am nobody’s friend. Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same. I topple governments and wreck marriages. I ruin careers and cause sleepless nights, heartaches and indigestion. I make innocent people cry in their pillows.
Even my name hisses. I am called Gossip.
I make headlines and headaches.
Before you repeat a story, ask yourself:
Is it true?
Is it harmless?
Is it necessary?
If it isn’t, don’t repeat it.