Sound Bites March 2017
As he sat eating his lunch, Liam, with his hand to his mouth, had succeeded in convincing the young man that he was coughing when he had actually laughed. Conner hadn’t learned yet that a wise youth always asks many questions of his elders, and then listens. Seniors have learned what he will know soon enough, or they have experienced it. If they haven’t experienced this particular problem, it is probably not worth writing down. Liam’s red hair had always given him a look that said if he wasn’t going to laugh soon, then he had just finished doing so. This was too much, and it took all of his self control. “The boy really has no idea,” he thought to himself.
Conner was complaining about how women do things so differently than men. “Why must they always talk about things until they beat them to death with the stick of their tongues? And why must they do it in concert with other women?” Liam told him that we men too had a few traditions about speech and ideas. The least worthy being holding it in without counsel from those who know better than we. Liam said, “It was Homer, 700 years before the birth of our Lord, who said, ‘What manner of speech is it that has escaped the barrier of your teeth?’ For this reason, women cross the line into gossip from news and truth. The human condition is to believe what is heard spoken aloud, no matter how ridiculous it may seem. The prettier or more handsome the mouth from which it comes, the more acceptable it becomes.”
Yet, though Conner had heard the vocal truth from Liam’s ample mouth, he just shook his head and walked off. His experience would provide this same wisdom some decades in the future, but until then the confusion would remain. His thinking about differences was clouding his understanding. Men gossip about events and exaggerate to make them more outrageous. Women chat about people and sometimes embellish to make their acts more shameful. Almost never does either gender talk about those who are righteous or holy or forgiving. There is nothing to gossip over there. For gossip is bound up in sensationalism, not truth. Facts are rarely exciting and when made so are usually riding on the back of an agenda. “I saw Liam and Conner talking in the field,” is a fact. “I saw Liam and Conner in a heated argument,” qualifies as gossip. See the difference?
Liam understood this and just chuckled as he watched Conner disappear across the meadow and into his thoughts. A red hair fell on the knee of his trousers, and he stared at it as he returned to his sandwich which he found tasty indeed. The sandwich fulfilled its purpose for in its simplicity, it was truly only food. The meal had no opinion about either people or what they had said, and that’s a fact.