About The Author
D. R. Prescott has written a novel, a collection of short stories, a nonfiction book, a collection of essays, planetarium show/display scripts, two family histories, technical articles and business plans as well as written for and edited several newsletters.
Awards and published work include Writers' Journal, Long Story Short, Taj Mahal Review literary journal, The Orange County Register, Writer's Digest, and Writing.com and four books among other challenges.
As a former aerospace executive and planetarium program director, Prescott currently writes and explores life in Orange, California.
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"Sentience can be annoying."-DRP Abt. 1990
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Since 2008, Prescott has been a regular contributor of
essays and short stories to
The Taj Mahal Review Literary Journal
Get your copies now at: http://tajmahalreview.com/
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D. R. Prescott

         Gossip: “…to indulge in idle talk or rumors about others.” Idle? “Having no value or significance; worthless; useless.”

         It is amazing that we spend so much time pursuing, practicing and shoveling gossip. Why do we do that? Is there some survival instinct at work here? Is there an evolutionary reason fueling such a worthless activity?

         I have concluded from personal experience that gender has little or nothing to do with it. Condescending males often stereotype females with this affliction. Yet, men tend to gossip just like the women, maybe even more. (I have ventured into forbidden territory here, fraught with personal dangers!) It may be thinly disguised in conversations about sports, politics, business or the other sex, but this seemingly uncontrollable urge to engage in worthless talk about others appears irresistible. Sorry about that, fellows, it’s true. We gossip!

         Is it hardwired into our brains? It seems to erupt unbidden when two or more people get together. In a crowd, gossip runs amuck. “How do you know when you are an obsessive gossip?” Identifying the triggers may be the only way rid yourself of the urge, short of going to Gossip Anonymous.

         Well, here some ways to detect compulsive gossiping.

1. You start a conversation with, "Do you know...” Seldom do those three words begin a discussion about origin of the universe.

2. You can't resist telling a better story than the person before you. The juicier your story, the more your anxiety mounts.

3. You strain to hold off a bodily function usually performed at a bathroom fixture to get in one more shot. There is danger here in becoming, yourself, the object of gossip if you defy the laws of physics too long.

4. You begin a good gossip and realize that you are gossiping about yourself. This is a form of self-flagellation. If you find that you continue to enjoy flogging yourself, get help immediately.

5. Since you were old enough to remember, you have an irresistible urge to lean against drinking fountains. This usually happens in offices which are historically hotbeds of new material, or new versions of old stuff.

6. You can't resist looking into windows as you take your jog. It is a happy jogger who can return after a good run with a choice morsel of gossip. It's truly a full body workout.

7. You find yourself making up stories about anyone, anytime you experience a brain-fart among other experienced gossipers. This usually is detectable as you accentuate your fabrication with, "Can you believe it?" or worse,” Really, it's true!" The latter exclamation is evidence of self-denial requiring a complete deprogramming session with at least your local exorcist. Credit cards are usually accepted.

8. You awake in the middle of the night in a sweat because you just had a nightmare that the government had banned gossiping and you were running from the FGP (Federal Gossip Police).

9. If you hear no gossip within a twenty-four-hour period, you have to take laxatives to keep you regular. This is known as the Pent-up Meddling Syndrome, PMS for short. Before you ladies go crazy, this is a unisex affliction.

10. Finally, you are willing to risk everything to get a new story and pass it along to others. You find yourself obsessively grasping gossip before anyone else gets it. You become rude, intrusive and maniacal. The final telltale is when a network executive offers you a job as a news reporter. Alas, there is no cure once you have reached this stage, especially if you are getting big ratings.

         If you identify with no more than two to three of these symptoms, there is hope. Having four but less than seven symptoms, your road to recovery will be long and arduous. Over seven, you are terminally-ill, a lifer.

         So, the big question remains unanswered. Whether the propensity to gossip is an innate or acquired trait is up for grabs. However, I am sure that someone has an opinion about it. I suspect that someone is gossiping about it right now.

         If you are afflicted, or even suspect that you might be a gossip, contact the authorities immediately. Only they can determine if you can be treated or must suffer for eternity with the ultimate disease of a reporter.

         Excuse me, "Did you hear about..."

         THE END

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© Copyright 2006 D. R. Prescott (donprescott at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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' Copyright 2008 D. R. Prescott (UN: donprescott at Writing.Com). All rights reserved. D. R. Prescott has granted Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work. Questions or Comments? E-mail to prescottdc@sbcglobal.net
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