Sunday, June 20, 2004

Telegraph/Telephone/Pass It On

There is a game children play, and I think it is called "Telegraph", where you whisper something to the person next to you, they tell the next person, etc. until it makes its way around a circle and comes back to you. Usually kids end up laughing as the original message is nothing like the final message. It could be called "Telephone", "Pass It On" or "Whisper Down the Lane," but the intent is the same -- in that information gets distorted as it passes from one person to another.
As an adult, when this sort of word-of-mouth event occurs, it is not so funny and is really unnerving. My family seems to have this happen all the time, where information (both good, bad, accurate, inaccurate) is passed on. And, whatever it is, people believe it. When I eventually find out, the truth is never anything close to what I ever thought or intended to do. Did anyone think of asking me before they just jump to conclusions about what I allegedly am planning to do? Of course not.
I try to tell my daughter not to gossip, or even presume and discuss other people's business or motives for doing whatever they do. Unfortunately, the rest of the world has their own rules.