Tag Archives: good times

40. Gossip–Whispering Dixie

18 Jun

"gossip cats!" by fofurasfelinas

Forget Entertainment Tonight or People magazine. Southerners only want to hear gossip about people they KNOW. Or in a pinch, about one of their friends’ relatives. You will not often hear Southern women speculating on how many more children Brangelina will collect. Not when the next-door neighbor is collecting a passel of her own…all by different daddies. But y’all didn’t hear that from me.

The best kind of gossip is of the ongoing saga variety. Preferably involving people who are bat-shit crazy. I mean, who cares about the new TV your uncle bought at Walmart? Unless you mention that your aunt poured a fifth of 151 over the old one and set it ablaze. Along with his power saw and his favorite rodeo belt buckle. Why? Was he cheating? Lying? Stealing? No, Springer was a rerun, and she didn’t have anything better to do.

While Southern folks love exchanging the latest juicier-than-watermelon tidbits, there’s only so much that can happen in a day. Which is why we’ve perfected the art of gossiping about what happened…10, 20, 30 years ago. Faulkner said it best: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

Y’all might think I mean reminiscing. Nope, that’s just talking about what happened. We Southerners like to talk about what might have happened, what ought to have happened, or what might could happen now that what happened happened. If y’all understood that last sentence, you get an honorary degree in Southern Vernacular Sentence Structure.

The thing you have to keep in mind about Southerner’s gossip is: A. We tend to exaggerate. B. We often misremember. Not always on purpose. And C. If what you said ever gets back to us, we WILL hold a grudge. Oh, we may not let you know, but you will find out one day. Oh, yes, you will.

And, of course, there’s always that “telephone” game factor. The story doesn’t even have to go through four or five people before it gets permanently disfigured. After my last trip home, I’ve decided that any information I get from my dad henceforth will have to be corroborated.

Case in point:
Me: “I’ve started taking kick-boxing classes.”
My dad to my sister: “Kim’s toughening up. She’s doing kick-boxing competitions.”
My sister: “Um…I don’t think so…”

One last note: Do not miss a family gathering because what they say TO you is hardly ever as bad as what they say ABOUT you.

What’s the most popular topic of gossip in your particular circle?

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