- Amanda Lear
There was a rumor today at work…
You can imagine the feeling of surprise I had when one of my students asked: “Mr. Z, is it really true that you aren’t going to teach anymore after this school year is over?”
“What?” I responded, taken aback somewhat.
“I heard that you decided to quit because the kids at this school don’t turn in their homework.”
I gazed at this boy. “Really?” I said, with the vaguest hint of a smile. “I hate to break the bad news to you, but I plan on being a teacher next year.”
He paused as I called my reading group to the front of the room.
“Is it true that you are leaving SSV because you hate it here?”
Whoa…just what was going on here? There is usually one rumor each year that I am leaving SSV, however, this was the first time I’d heard this little version.
“Who’d you hear this from?” I asked.
“Ah, I see…” I scanned the room, and Joey just happened to be nearby. “Joey, may I have a word please?”
Joey ambled to the front of the room as I quietly asked, “Where’d you hear the rumor that I hate my job?”
Joey began to list a string of names from whence his information sprang. Unfortunately, I cannot remember all of the names as the complexity of the line of individuals involved were much too long and detailed to be logged into the short-term memory by any stretch of the imagination. However, I believe that it went something like this;
“Well, I heard it from Mark when we were playing soccer at recess. One of the girls, Lisa, was telling her friends about it. She said she heard it from her older brother who’d heard it from his friend in at the high school. The friend’s dad was a co-worker on a movie set with Harrison Ford and they were discussing it during a coffee break. I guess Mr. Ford had been talking to his director, Steven (Speilberg), between takes and he said he’d heard it from his wife’s sister who knows this lady with a psychic hotline. She’d received the information while in a trance—I guess she was channeling the transmigrating soul of John Denver…it was him who first knew about it.”
Well, you can imagine my surprise at just how many individuals were keeping up with Lifestyles of Z, and were making it a point to discuss the various and sundry details of my life. I was further surprised when, with a little digging, I soon discovered that there were four other versions of said story which involved everything from being terminated by the district for giving action slips to students for gum chewing, to quitting because of lazy kids who wouldn’t complete their homework.
“This is a rumor-filled society and if people want to sit around and talk about whom I’ve dated, then I’d say they have a lot of spare time and should consider other topics...”
- Johnny Depp
I set him straight. In fact, I set my whole class straight.
However, as I left school I found myself wondering just why rumors have a tendency to come into existence, and, more often than not, why they are always so cataclysmically overblown? Just what is it about rumors that get us excited to spread the news to others? Of course, if I’m being honest with myself, I’ve taken part in my fair share of rumormongering from time to time.
But it feels different when the rumors are about you.
Well, it’s kind of cool, really. After all…if there are rumors about you, then you are worthy topic of discussion to the masses, and are therefore interesting conversation. I guess there is something to say about that, and it could be worn as a badge of honor. However, it can be quite disconcerting when one finds out just how many diverging versions of the truth are really out there. Just where do all of these different adaptations come from? What is it that motivates a person to spread a fairy-tale with a mixture of truth as being unequivocated gospel fact, when said information has not been accurately checked back at the source?
I guess it’s probably because the truth is not nearly as fun, interesting, or juicy as what one is able to spread with the aid of cell phones, text messaging, and backyard neighborhood fences.
To quell the rumor and set it all straight: I AM transferring schools. I will be teaching 5th grade next year. I am doing this because the reasons I had for staying at my present school are no longer there. I have never kept it a secret that I would stay at SSV only so long as Mrs. Wright, Mr. Firmage, Mrs. Bliss, and Expedition Red Rock were still there too. They are all now notably absent, therefore, so shall I be.
On a final note…it was Alyson Hannigan, the actress from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, once said, “There was a rumor that I was dead. I happened to be off work that day and I had a beeper and the batteries had died so I was just shopping and looking round bookstores. People were frantically trying to get in touch with me, and people were calling hospitals and the news people were calling my agent trying to see if it was true, and I got home and my voice mail was filled with people going, ‘Call me if you’re ok’ - and I was completely oblivious.”