Do you know how difficult it is not to gossip?
You know, to talk about people behind their backs. Not just talk, but to say things that we cannot say in front of them.
Refusing to gossip is hard.
So Obiageli Fire (my alter ego) is a recovering gossip. I don’t mean that she was injured because she gossiped and now she is recovering. There might have been a few close shaves, but nobody has beaten her up yet. One day, she was gossiping about someone to her friend. She did not know the girl they were talking about was right behind them. Obiageli repented from gossiping for just that day. The next day, she was back at it.
You know how alcoholics are always in recovery? This means it’s a war that they win by fighting battle after battle. You never get to a point that you have won once and for all. That is the plight of Obiageli.
So Obiageli gossips.
One day, her uncle called her and asked her something.
“Oby, do you know Grace Peter?” (fake name off course for all the sleuths and social media journalists without pay that have started searching and zooming all over the place for the name… in the name of tatafo.)
Obiageli did the clap first of all.
You know the clap now. When you want to reel out hot gist, you will first of all do a dramatic clap, bend your mouth and ask the person to sit down.
“Grace Peter is a slut. She was sleeping with Boris while sleeping with Jeremy. There was one time that she wore a skirt so short to church that the whole choir saw her paiynt. She owes a lot of people money and I hear she even borrowed from their security man. When she comes home from her ‘runs’ she scales over the fence to avoid the security man.”
Obiageli’s Uncle just looked at her for a while. Then he said
“She is my fiancé and I am going to marry her.”
It had happened. She was too eager to spread bad gist to even wonder why he was asking.
What does one do after this kind of goof?
Obiageli is a two faced sharp girl. Self-preservation is the only creed she lives by.
“But you know what Uncle? Grace has such a kind heart. I suspect all these stories are from jealous friends. Women like to pull women down. That day that I heard the gist, I did not say anything… “
Luckily, uncle was too in love to care and Obiageli lived to gossip another day.
Tatafo is sweet for many reasons.
We speak about how bad someone is because in those few seconds, we feel righteous and not as messed up.
Tatafo is not meant to ever see the sunlight. It is sweeter if the people gossiped about do not get a chance to redeem themselves. It does not seek clarifications and is the master of one sided stories.
The best opening line for gossip (especially amongst holy folks) is:
“Kai, we need to pray for Sister Mary’s marriage. I am so concerned about her…”
“Ah Ah! What happened… her and her husband seem so happy…”
And the next 1 hour will be spent exaggerating, extrapolating and inventing stories.
Will it end with a prayer?
“Marriage sef, no be beans. Let us just keep praying… by the way did you see the top Nkechi wore during Wednesday fellowship.”
The kind of gossip I dislike the most is the one that seems to be paying some people. I mean, they have built mansions by mixing cement with the tears and heartbreaks of the private lives of public people.
We keep defending them and saying it is their hustle. Try feeding her hustle with your private pain and see if you will see anything honourable about her work.
The recent story about Mayowa the lady with the stage 4 Ovarian cancer is one reason why I cannot respect the gossip bloggers no matter what anyone says or how much money they make. Toyin Aihmaku assisted Mayowa to raise $100,000 for treatment. While Nigerians gave in an uncharacteristic speedy manner, a scam story made popular by a blogger hit us. Toyin Aimakhu explained that she got a call from someone that told her it was a scam. She acted on this gossip that turned a beautiful thing into something sordid.
She has since apologised. But this ‘tatafo’ given to her caused a lot of heartbreak.
Gossip is bad, gossip bloggers are even worse.
Social media complicates things.
Gossip spreads so fast on social media that no matter how many retractions and rejoinders you write, the damage is ALWAYS done.
I will confess that I have talked about people behind their backs before but I am not like Obiageli. I have shame. I am working on not being interested in the dirt about people’s lives. Yes dirt. When it is good news, it does not spread like wild fire. But it is hard not to come across people’s gist. So here is what I do.
- I never EVER believe everything I am told about a person. I leave room for doubt. I recognise it is a one sided story and unless I hear both sides, I reserve judgement.
- Nobody is 100% bad. Probably only the devil. So even if I hear bad gist about people that seem true, I still look out for the spark of humanity that exists in most people.
- I focus on my shortcomings and try to figure out how to overcome them. If you are consumed with improving yourself, you are less concerned about fixing other people. Also, acknowledging that you have issues and weaknesses makes you less likely to jump to hasty conclusions about other people.
I think the worst thing about gossiping is the certainty with which unverified information is ferried from one place to the other. They are shared as though they were facts. It really isn’t fair.
As for Obiageli, she saw a friend’s husband with one girl at the Ice Cream factory today and she cannot keep calm. I have a feeling a relapse is on the way. She has half announced it on Facebook with style.
“I need advice, I think my friend’s husband is cheating. What should I do?”
I have told her to mind her business but she will not hear.
Facebook groups, whassap chats and inboxes will be in trouble tonight.
Pray for Obiageli…
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