When you are finished reading The Independent, what do you pick up next? Are you taking a trip down memory lane by reading the classics, like Dante’s Divine Comedy? Or as we used to call it, a little trip to hell and back? No? How about the recent book hit Black Ice by Brad Thor on the New York Times Bestsellers list? “Still no?” How about one of those periodicals on the rack of your local grocery store with the photos that pull you in? You know the flashy headlines: “The Queen gives up her title.” You look to see if there is anyone you know in the line. Someone who would giggle as you casually turn a couple pages to see what Harry and Megan are doing in California. Pretty soon you shove one in the cart under the broccoli. No one looks up as the paper gossip sheet is scanned and there is just a slight snicker as the sacker pops it to the top of the bag. After you pay, you push it down—just in case. A secret guilty pleasure. Shhh… no one needs to know.
I won’t tell. My sister, Maggie, is brave! She has no need to hide these magazines; they just come in the mail to her home. She is unshakeable in her quest to know the unknowable, the latest crisis in Hollywood royalty and, of course, British royalty. Margaret Mary to me, is 14 years my junior. Maggie (to her friends) really knows all the young people in these very gossipy magazines. I take home all her slightly used ones. When I don’t know the handsome and beautiful people, I call her to help me out. It is only fitting, since when she was just going to school, I was already teaching. I helped her read, she can help me figure out who is getting married, who is divorcing and who are still friends.
Speaking of friends, and did you know it has been 25 years since Friends was on television? The girls, Rachel, Monica, Phoebe came to the reunion. The guys, Joey, Chandler and Ross showed up, too. The writers of this piece described how the cast came in to see a reproduction of the sets. Central Perk, the coffee shop where they loved to meet and greet is now in the Smithsonian Museum. So, they built a copy of a copy. Did you get that?
Sometimes reading the articles makes me feel older than my 74 years. They even have a page that lists who’s having a birthday, who’s gotten married or had a baby, and who died. Photos are featuring all sizes and shapes of people now and that is a good thing.
Why do we like gossip so much? Maybe our lives seem dull by comparison. A young man in English class when asked what he did over the weekend, shrugs and says, “I went fishing.” And he sits down.
The next young man, with imagination, stands and says, “It was so exciting, My Dad and I went fishing and we saw a sea lion, whales and we caught the biggest and best fish ever. We had bait so large it caught a shark. Thank you.” And he sits. What’s the difference? The telling of the tale.
I leave you with my favorite part of gossip, an ole timey show called Hee Haw and the modern Gossip Girls.
“Oh, we don’t go round spreading rumors. Why really we’re just not the gossipy kind. Oh, you’ll never hear one of us repeating gossip. So, better be sure and listen close the first time.” Roaring Mouse, looking for my glasses, out.