February 17, 2014 by phicks2012
Okay, so I have bitter personal experience with just how willing some people (mainly clueless strangers, thank God, but not even actual “sociopaths”) are to believe negative, scandalous or horrendous (and completely untrue) things about other people if the story’s colorful enough and the source seems even remotely credible. Please note that “remotely” most definitely is often the operative term, but sometimes even “highly questionable” will do the trick if the story’s lurid enough! I’ve also learned how willing (i.e. rabidly eager) many people are (and were even pre-Twitter) to spread such misinformation to the detriment of others they don’t even know. Nevertheless, I can still be awed and amazed by how “The Rumor Mill” works.
A week or so back one of my housemates, Jason, called a neighbor with whom he’d worked in the past but from whom he hadn’t heard in a while. Afterwards, he came to me, wide-eyed, and said “You are not going to BELIEVE what Jack just told me!!” Apparently, Jason’s ex-brother-in-law had told our neighbor that he was DEAD, and that I had found his body in his room!
Naturally, this came as something of a shock to me to, since I was standing there talking to him at the time I heard the news. I mean, was he numbered among the UNDEAD and a harbinger of The ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE? Should I be packing a .357 and aiming for the head, just in case?
Our neighbor was, understandably, startled as well, to hear a voice (seemingly from beyond the grave) on his cell phone! After all, not even 4G networks reach THAT far!! WOW!! What an advertising point THAT would be for Verison or AT&T!!
Jason had no idea why his ex-brother-in-law would have said such a thing (except that apparently he has a reputation for playing a bit fast-and-loose to the truth), but obviously if Jason was reacting to the news he was still numbered among the living! I’ve never really seen or heard of a startled zombie, after all, and if I was startled myself then I clearly had NOT “found his dead body in his room”.
We actually thought that with Jason’s seeming “resurrection” we had the rumor quashed, until the other day when his ex-wife (sister to the famed ex-brother-in-law) called the castle, frantic to find out whether or not he was okay. Seemingly Jason’s own brother had told their daughter (her’s & Jason’s) that he’d heard her father was dead, and she’d been desperately trying to reach him ever since. Unfortunately, he’d been using a freebie cell phone that couldn’t get a signal three feet away, let alone across a supernatural divide — assuming that to be necessary, of course.
It probably wasn’t altogether appropriate for me to burst out laughing, but I’m afraid did. Of course, I then immediately explained to the ex that we’d already heard that particular rumor, but didn’t realize it had spread further. Thankfully, I was able to reassure her that, as of the night before when he’d warned me (in corporeal form) that we were running low on Horse feed and hay, Jason had been very much alive and kicking. I then instructed her to please tell her daughter so, thus setting the poor girl’s mind at ease!!!
Daughter Jessica called the next night and talked to her father, and has since come to see him in the still-breathing flesh, so I’m hoping the word will now filter back down through the proverbial grapevine, finally putting a stop to this. However, I somehow doubt it. Once rumors get started, my experience is that they tend to take on a life of their own.
For example, some people still stubbornly persist in believing that my house (in which no one has ever died, INCLUDING Jason) is haunted (frequently by suicidal lesbians), so I figure this matter is bound to crop up again with a few more creative twists and turns. Possibly Jason will have killed himself (and will have joined the legions of spectral entities supposedly lurking in Castle corners), or I’ll have murdered him (and he’ll, once again, be wandering about in ectoplasmic form seeking dire vengeance). Once a few more people get their hooks into the story there’s just no telling WHAT creativity will ensue, but at this moment I’m pleased to report that Jason is still alive and well, and likely to remain that way for years yet!
So, in conclusion, and paraphrasing Mark Twain “The rumors of Jason’s death are greatly exagerated!” And as for the rumors of the house being haunted — well, if you’re a crack-addict, an ice-head or home-invader, please feel absolutely free to believe that we have alligators in the moat, headless ghosts floating around waiting to pounce upon you, and zombies eager to devour your brains — assuming you have any.