We all have one—or, heaven help us, many—of those people in our lives. You know the kind. The one who will call you up and say, I’ve got to tell you something, but you have to promise not to tell anyone else! Why don’t they just come out and say, I have a hidden agenda! and be done with it? At least if they claim to be a friend of yours, they should let you in on their motives, don’t you think? I’d think a real friend would owe you that much.
Naturally, the kind of promise you make is about as valid as pretense under which it is enjoined. Which is to say: Nil. Zip. Zilch.
Somewhere in the back of your mind, you think that more is being asked of you than the gossiper is willing to ask of himself because, well, that’s exactly what’s going on. And somewhere in the fore of your mind, you know that O-the-tangled-web-being-woven is closing in around your life.
And you know how to unweave it.
So you do, and O, The Horror! The gossiping is All. Your. Fault.
A case can be made that you have done a bad thing. Until you discover that your accuser—the original gossiper—in the same time interval, has been gossiping to others about you. Now we’re in the territory of hypocrisy.
The trouble, dear readers, is this: what territory are we in next, when the accuser becomes indignant and demands to be left out of the resultant drama of too many people “hearing” too many never-directly-heard things and feels as if he’s being treated like a doormat, disconsolate?
What lies beneath/beyond the vanguard of such hypocrisy? Anyone got a word for that?