The rumor mill

In many ways, it’s got a life of its own, thanks to decades of gossip and speculation. And it is – more often than not – as reliable as a watch that no longer keeps time ... in that it’s correct at least twice a day. I’m speaking of the rumor mill, of course, Chenango County’s very own landfill of fabrication, fiction and back-fence talk.

That’s not to say the rumor mill doesn’t have its uses, particularly here in the newsroom. People catch wind of all sorts of “news” throughout the course of their day; at the store, the bank, the gas station, you name it. Said scandals or suppositions inevitably make their way into our office here at The Evening Sun and – as stated – sometimes they’re even on the mark. Most times, however (and I’m sure I’m not raising any eyebrows here), the falsehoods outweigh the facts, and concepts such as integrity and respect are – if not ignored completely – conveniently brushed aside.

Said Alvin Adams, “Appreciate the power of rumor, often malicious, no matter how preposterous, within the local populations you are seeking to help.”

Everyone reading this, I’m fairly certain, has been involved with our local rumor mill in some way, shape or form over the years, and I’m no exception. Hell, I’ve even run into old friends, years after we last saw one another, greeted with a hearty, “Hey, man, I thought you were dead” or, “How are the wife and kids?”

No joke. And for those unfamiliar with my current marital status, I have no wife ... or kids.

Regardless, it’s not like things are much different wherever one may roam. And it’s not like the rumor mill ceases to exist once you exit our little corner of upstate New York. I’ve often pondered what it would be like to up and disappear, relocate to another locale (maybe the Bahamas ... or Hawaii) and begin life anew. Thanks to modern technology and social media, of course, such a thing has become all but impossible, although I suppose one could simply avoid the digital world altogether if one was so inclined. Me? I’m a sucker for Facebook and Twitter nowadays, whether it’s updating my current status (last night’s read something like ... OK, Brian ... time to turn off the brain and get some sleep) or uploading photos of the latest gig (something I’m terrible at doing in a timely manner if I happen to be the one with the aforementioned photos).

Face it, we are more connected now than ever before, yet sadly less in touch with one another, it seems. Why call someone when I can text them? Why write a letter when an e-mail will do? And my favorite, for obvious reasons, why “spell it out” when it’s easier to LOL or C U LTR? It’s almost funny, when you think about it, yet it’s also more than a bit disconcerting.

Over the years, I’ve heard many people say how much they despise the rumor mill, just moments before they call so-and-so with the most recent “news,” no matter how unfounded or unbelievable that news may be. And really, why would anyone want to wait for a reliable news source ... say a newspaper, perhaps ... to get the facts? How inconvenient. No, I imagine it’s simply quicker and less painful (for the one spreading any such rumor) to get the details out on the street for everyone to hear, no matter who it may hurt. That’s the rumor mill for you and – as I’m sure you can imagine – it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Who needs facts when fiction is so much more interesting, right?

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