Writing is an Itch. This is a place to scratch.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rattus's Back. Rumors and Other Follies.

Dear friends,

I cannot here go into where I have been and why I was gone these many months. That is a tale for another time. But, like the phoenix from the ashes, Rattus is back.

I thought that I would celebrate this most auspicious revivification with a true story about the folly of rumors as instanced in my own life. I shall title it:

"Rumors and Other Follies"

We've all had false rumors spread about us. I am certainly no stranger to false rumors spread about me. The first one I can remember was when I was in the 5th grade.

That year I was so sick that I missed 2 weeks of school. When I got back (and despite a letter from my mom informing the school I was sick), everyone looked at me differently, like I'd walked onto the set of some B-grade horror film. Some kids feared me. Others thought I was cool.

Why? Because the rumor had spread that I had been sent to juvenile hall. My teacher even pulled me aside, got down on one knee, looked at me with the comical seriousness of hound dog, and asked: "Ruben are you square with the law now?"

Am I square with the law?

"Mr. D'amico, the whole thing is a rumor. I was home sick."

Ironically, I think I disappointed him -- I mean, after his groveling humanitarian reaching out to the most troubled youth in the black board jungle and all.

I don't think we ever spoke again after that. But maybe it wasn't him. Maybe it was me. Maybe because even then, at 11 years of age, I knew that the teacher, everybody, had accepted the premise of the rumor. And I think that bothered me; for it said something about the way people saw me. (Maybe it said more about them than me. But an 11 year old can hardly be expected to accept such things with the zen-like tranquility of a cow.)

But alas, for the next few years my nick name was "Juvy Ruby."

No denials or explanations of mine were remotely sufficient to quell the rumor, because of course that's what criminals do: lie.

The truth of it is that not all rumors are deliberate attempts at coercion (call these rumors of propaganda; and some can be malicious and destructive indeed). Some rumors are a kind of spice that we all seem to need from time to time to enliven the ordinary and the dull (call these rumors of entertainment). A 5th grader being sick is simply not in the same league, interest-wise, as a 5th grader going to jail.

But, what is true of spice is also true of some forms of entertainment: too much can give you heartburn. So please, don't just swallow the premise of a rumor. Find out if it's true. And even then, take no joy in the folly and misfortune of others.

Yours truly,
Juvy Ruby

13 comments:

Martina said...

Now, these are funny - or not? - and they remind me of bigger harm that can be done by rumours- I think, in politics, they are quite often used to get rid of persons for some or the other reason. I've thought about this in the case of Julian Assange ... did he do a bad thing, or did they just want to make him look evil? Even a lie can stick with you for a lifetime!

Marie said...

I'm sorry....I really didn't think it would go this far...

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

I AM SO GLAD YOU ARE BACK RATTUS!!! Back in the saddle, old man, eh? EXCELLENT! SO what is this rumor old fellow...we knew each other way back when in our school days and I do NOT recall your absence from the school house...but you are back with us son, and that is all that matters. Pen to paper now...carry on, and shall we have some tea now? TEA RAT

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

You took the words right out of my mouth Anita. I am so glad you are back Rattus!! Rumors... ahh yes, they can be very damaging indeed. Sometimes they are like a bad rash that will not go away. I say pish
to all rumors and ill deeds.
Grab your surfboard Rattus and come ride a wave with Bebe.
Good to have you back!
Blessings my friend
Penny

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Ruben
Thank you for wandering over to see Bebe catch a wave.. I am so happy she gave you a smile.. Your encouraging words are so appreciated.
Blessings,
Penny

Karina Gentinetta said...

I'm so glad you are back and out of rehab. I know how hard it can be. Or is that another rumor too???? :) Sorry, I couldn't resist! That was the funniest story ever and so true!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Karina

www.disegnoKarinaGentinetta.1stdibs.com

Victoria Sayer said...

Heeheehee...Juvy Ruby :}
Great article, Ruben.
Rumors are indeed, strange things. We all seem to savor them...but it always astounds me that 'someone' has to first start them. Who are these people who decide to begin a falsehood?? 'Chinese Whispers' perhaps, is how most start. Slowly growing in shape, size and colour.
Funny, but I'm glad to hear you really were home SICK and not WELL and in trouble with the law. ;)
Thanks for dropping by in my green and white garden, to let me know you were back (though I had already noticed your name pop up in my sidebar, and was going to drop by and see you!)
Vicki

Michelle Shaw said...

Welcome back, Rattus. I too have missed your tales and musings. It's interesting to hear you talk about rumors from the point of view of a 5th grader. Sometime I will have to share with you the rumor that was being spread about me as a 5th grade teacher. They really do hurt, and it's amazing that people continue to spread them behind others' backs without even approaching that person to find out if it's true. Some people seem to thrive on initiating the rumors. What is it about these people and their own realities that make them want to focus on hurting other people?

It's great to see your pen scribbling again. Just be careful when you're outside since our new neighbor has become a fox.

myletterstoemily said...

dear ruben,

SO glad to see YOU back! i heartedly agree
with your premise of the evil of rumors. they
are hideous. i would add to your dictum,
however:
"Do good." :)

still struggling to do this!!!!

M.A.the2nd said...

Dear Ruben ..... Welcome back and what a great post! How awful for you to go through such a nasty rumour. Rumours are malicious and can cause so much grief .... and you know what I have realized ... if we all followed your dictum "First Do No Harm" the world would be a much better place where the individual does matter!!!
best wishes
Frances
ps I must say as Marie Antoinette the 2nd all those rumours of me uttering in contemptuous terms for the peasants to deal with their hunger ..... I categorically state I did not say "Let Them Eat Cake"!!!!!!

George the Lad said...

Hello Rattus
Pleased to meet you and thanks for your visit.
Mom started a rumor about me!!! she told folks that if they leave their tea in my reach I will drink it, The Cheek of it, as if I would ;)
Have a good week
See Yea George xxx

Jacqueline said...

Once the match sets fire it spreads and it rarely taste good like peanut butter on bread.

Shall we sock it to them, follow the crowd, forgive or forget? I'm sure there is a list of more options but one option should never be on that famous list and that is to rejoice in the misfortune of others. Agreed.

God bless you for sharing and making us all use our brains and to think before we act.

Love sent to Rattus. He is one cool dude.

Karena said...

Wonderful prose for Anita's Paris party!! Mine is finally up (with blogger issues not perfect, come and see though!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena