"He said that she said that you said." Gossip is a word familiarly
known as the high school topic of discussion. Have you ever just traveled
around your school's campus and listened to the numerous groups of people
and what they are talking about? Well, the words that usually are coming
out of their mouths are things such as "did you see what she was
wearing?" or "Did you hear what he said about you?" No matter if we want
to admit it or not, we are all at fault for gossiping at one time or
As I was flipping through the all-time "chick" favorite book "Chicken
Soup for the Teenage Soul," I came across a story written by an unknown
author on a lesson about gossiping.
A woman repeated a bit of gossip about a neighbor. Within a few days
the whole community knew the story. The person it concerned was deeply
hurt and offended. Later, the woman responsible for spreading the rumor
learned that it was completely untrue. She was very sorry and went to a
wise old sage to find out what she could do to repair the damage.
"Go to the marketplace," he said, "and purchase a chicken, and have it
killed. Then on your way home pluck its feathers and drop them one by one
along the road." Although surprised by this advice, the woman did what
she was told.
The next day the wise man said, "Now go and collect all those feathers
you dropped yesterday and bring them back to me." The woman followed the
same road, but to her dismay the wind had blown all the feathers away.
After searching for hours, she returned with only three in her hand. "You
see," said the old sage, "it is easy to drop them, but it's impossible to
get them back. So it is with gossip. It doesn't take much to spread a
rumor, but once you do, you can never completely undo the wrong."
So the next time you are dying to tell your best friends about what
you just heard happened to "so and so" during math class. Bite your
tongue before doing so. Because once you have broken the puzzle, it is a
long process before you can rebuild it again.
* LAUREN LOEB is a Corona del Mar High School junior whose columns
will appear occasionally in the Community Forum section.