The Hoof Print (McDonough, Georgia)
When I was a kid, an all time popular and humorous game to play with big groups was that classic called, “Telephone,” in which everyone sits in a circle and whispers whatever he or she heard from the person on their left, who whispered in their ear on the previous turn. Eventually the final person of the circle recites whatever they heard whispered to them to the group, typically causing an eruption of giggles as the one who started the message reveals what the secret once was.
Although it was played in fun and games, unfortunately Telephone tends to serve as a small scale, harmless version of what goes on in real life. Consider the accuracy of the final person in the game if they were to ask the person who started the message to whisper in their ear instead of being told several misinterpretations of the truth. Chances are that instead of saying “monkeys eat the wild and youthful,” they would say the sentence the first person intended: “money is very useful.”
Such chances of accuracy are the same if people were to refer to the first reference of conflict instead of depending on the words of others. While facts are facts, the Telephone game showed me that there is always room for miscommunication, and in real life this break in the line can have more consequences than just a few laughs. The wrong misinterpretation can incite anger, jealousy, and hurt feelings, all of which might have been prevented had people gotten their information from a reliable source rather than taking what their friend told them for truth.
While the term “reliable” has different meanings to different people, the wisest thing to do in most situations is to go to the source of the grape vine, the root of all the conflict, the origin of the rumor. Chances are if they are what started it they’ll know the truth. Just like in Telephone, where the most reliable source is obviously the person who started the message. So next time before you waste a lot of emotions on one problem, remember this one word of advice: read before you speak.
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