Monday, January 31, 2011

I thought you got perks for subscribing...

I was at my mom's house last week. Her boyfriend has a subscription to Maxim Magazine. I was reading the current issue with Olivia Munn, everybody's favorite hot geek, on the cover. I noticed that the subscription bar was in a very awkward spot, which prompted me to tweet a picture with the caption "worst-placed subscription bar ever":



I got some feedback from my friends agreeing with me (as well as some interesting text messages from my girlfriend regarding my choice of reading material). A few days later I was at my local CVS Pharmacy. I was killing time and looking through the magazine section, when I saw this month's issue of Maxim Magazine featuring everybody's favorite hot geek on the cover, sans subscription bar:



This prompts the following question - Aren't magazines supposed to try and entice you to subscribe? If the valued subscribers of Maxim Magazine are receiving this kind of shoddy product, then what's the point of being a Maxim subscriber?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My headshot for life


In a weird way, I feel as though this picture describes my life up to this point. It was taken in November, 2008, shortly after I woke up (caught in mid-yawn). If you want to see why I'm where I'm at in life, look at this picture. This looks like a guy in his mid-20's who is taking nearly 8 years to finish a 4-year college degree.

As of this writing, I am two semesters away from graduating. Every person that I've told that to has had some variation of the following response - "Awesome! Congratulations! That's so close!" Since I found out that I only had two semesters, I haven't been excited. I don't see this as being a good thing. I wasn't sure why at first, but I've thought about it and I had a sad realization: I have never had two consecutive good college semesters.

Every time I've done well at school, I follow it up by doing poorly. I've never been able to build upon the good groundwork that I set for myself the previous semester. For some, it's simple - do good this semester and then do good next semester. But, for me, that's something that I've never been able to do.

I was in Concord's Academic Success Center the other day, talking about school stuff. Nothing big. They'd been sending me Facebook messages telling me to stop in and check up with them, so I did. I was talking to Trena Bolin, when a girl stopped in her office. I don't know her name, but I recognized her around campus. I'd had some classes with her before. I don't know how old she is, but I know she's a couple years older than me. She had found out when she was going to graduate and was very excited about it, as she told Trena - "Just three more semesters. I can't believe it. Only three more."

Just three more. She was excited about three semesters. That's helped put things into perspective for me. She's excited about three semesters and I'm dreading two. As much as I'm dreading it, I know that I need to change my ways and have two good semesters. I took the spring 2010 semester off and those 8 months of only working at Pizza Hut showed me that I don't want to do that for the rest of my life.

There are three kinds of people who work at Pizza Hut (or any menial job like that) - people who can make a career out of it (i.e. the General Manager), young people working their way through high school or college, and people with no qualifications who can't do anything else.

I spent 8 months as one of those guys with no qualifications to do anything else. I wasn't in college and I was a manager at Pizza Hut. If I hadn't gone back to school, I wouldn't have done anything else in my life but that.

It reminds me of a conversation I recently had with a delivery driver there. He's 31 years old. He's a very intelligent guy, but he's a 31-year-old guy at Pizza Hut. Something went wrong there. His words stuck with me, as I remember our conversation clearly.

One of my managerial duties is to count stuff and put it in the computer. One of his duties is to prepare dough. I was at the computer, putting stuff in. He was preparing dough. He looked over at me:

Him: "You still going to college?"

Me: "Yeah."

Him: "What for? Graphic Arts or something?"

Me: "Journalism."

Him: "Oh yeah. I remember now."

I went back to my work and he went back to his. After a minute, he looks back over at me.

Him: "You don't care about any of this, do you?"

Me: "No. It's Pizza Hut."

Him: "Fuckin' right, man! It's just Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut isn't a career. Pizza Hut is what you do if you do bad in school. Journalism, that's a career."

Pizza Hut is what you do if you do bad in school. Poor grammar aside, that's a very good point. I did bad in school and all I had was Pizza Hut. Now I'm trying to do good so I can do something better.

It's a bit of a conundrum, in a way. I'm not very good at much, but I can honestly say I'm very good at two things - journalism and random trivia. Trivia won't get me far in life, but I think I have the skills needed to become a very successful journalist. There's only one thing stopping me from that - I have to graduate from school first. If I were good at that I would have done it by now.

The only way I can do what I feel I'm best at is to succeed in what I feel I'm the worst at.

2011 is going to be a pivotal year for me, I guess. It will either be the year that I finally graduate from school and take the first step toward making something of myself. Or, it will be another year of the same. I guess we'll see what happens. I'd really like to change things and get a different headshot for my life.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dairy Queen rant



In the last blog I posted, I included a link to an interview with professional wrestler Chris Jericho and I mentioned his second book, which comes out soon. That got me thinking about his first book, which was a look at his wrestling career up to his 1999 WWE debut (his 2nd book picks up from there). I had known about this video for several years, but it wasn't until reading Jericho's book that I realized he was the man filming this.

This video takes place around 1993 or 1994. Jericho was wrestling in Smokey Mountain Wrestling, a regional wrestling promotion based in the Kentucky/Tennessee area. As Jericho notes in his book, being from Canada this was quite a culture shock for him.

The guy doing the yelling is Jim Cornette, one of the most famous wrestling managers ever (and at the time, the promotor of SMW aka Jericho's boss). The explosive temper came in handy during wrestling promos, when it was time to be loud and angry. But, he has a reputation of not being able to turn that performace switch off and tends to have the explosive temper all the time, as the employees of this Dairy Queen found out.

I just thought this was something funny to share. Be warned, there is quite a bit of foul language.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Semester off to bumpy start

We're two days into the Spring 2011 semester. I still only have 4 academic hours. And I'm going to get rid of my 1-hour workshop and try to replace it with another. Both workshops are in my major, so I shouldn't have any problems getting in. Why? Read my last blog.

I'm a little behind where I should be. I can't complain much, as it's my own fault. I should have met with my academic advisor and made a schedule and registered for classes last semester. But, I don't like meeting with my advisor, so I never do.

For this semester, I did what I always do. I create my own schedule, then go get my classes. All that's requred is for me to get my advisor's signature. And, for some reason I don't even need that this time. I've been able to do my business in the registrar's office without the signature thus far.

Usually, my system works out for me. Except this time, as the classes I wanted are full. So, I'm trying to come up with a backup schedule. A list of open classes can be found here - https://cs.concord.edu/schedules/classesopen.php - if you see anything you think I might like, let me know.

That's how things are going, school-wise. Work has been an interesting trip lately.

I've worked at Pizza Hut, off-and-on, since 2005. Since 2009, it has been non-stop "on." I'm a manager there and it's an enjoyable job for the most part. It's a little aggravating sometimes, but at least I'm not doing something like digging ditches. On a sidenote, do people still dig ditches?

There have been some changes at work recently. From the time I started working there until a couple months ago, the Pizza Hut in Princeton was an independently-owned franchise. That is no longer the case, as the Princeton Pizza Hut (and several in the area) are now owned by the actual Pizza Hut corporation.

Basically, all that means is that they're more strict about rules. And, we got new computers to take orders on. Not a huge change, but noticeable enough to make a difference. It was enough to make the general manager, Bob, quit without putting in a 2-week notice. That threw a wrench in my life, as the management team was initially 4 people doing the job of 5 and it suddenly turned into 3 doing the job of 5 without any real warning.

So, I have to work a little bit more than I want to right now. I can't fault him for doing that. Yeah, it's made things a little difficult for everybody around him, but it's what he felt like he needed to do. I've talked to him a little bit since then. He seems happy with his decision, so that's good. As much as it sucks that I have to work more, it's extra money and I can't complain about that.

That's it for now. I'll update you one when I find some classes. Until then, here's some links:

http://www.youtube.com/86chrisslater ... I started a YouTube channel. I'm not really sure what I'm going to use it for. Much like my blog, which I originally started in 2006 with no real purpose in mind, I figure a YouTube channel will be fun and might come in handy some day. Not much on there right now, as it's still in the very early stages.

http://iamjohnmeadows.blogspot.com/2011/01/done-with-water-bottles.html ... John Meadow's latest blog is a very interesting read. It contains the trailer to the documentary "Tapped," which is about the problems with the bottled-water industry. Check it out. It is definitely worth a watch.

http://prowrestlingillustrated.blogspot.com/2011/01/chris-jericho-unedited-press-conference.html ... Yeah, I know, nobody cares about professional wrestling. But, some people do. Chris Jericho is considered to be one of the greatest professional wrestlers of the last decade. He took a 2-year break from wrestling before coming back at the end of 2007 and signing a 3-year contract. It expired at the end of last year and, as the interview states, he has no intentions of returning to wrestling at the moment. He also talks about his upcoming book, a sequel to his 2007 best-seller.

http://therealddp.blogspot.com/2011/01/reality-ddp-tv-bluefield-hell-this-is.html ... I know, more wrestling. But, this one is actually involves a famous wrestler and this area. "Diamond" Dallas Page, a famous wrestler from the late '90s, was at a show in Bluefield, at the Brushfork Armory. The show made news around the nation, because several famous wrestlers were there and a lot of them did not get paid. The promoter was arrested and a lot of interesting developments are taking place. Despite getting paid, DDP still had a bad time there, as his 5-part "Bluefield Hell" video blogs can attest. The others can be found on the main page.

http://www.smosh.com/smosh-pit/photos/28-awesomely-defaced-bills ... I found this link on Justin Grathwhol's Facebook page. Some of the designs are very creative.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Concord - classes & shit

This Wednesday begins my 13th semester at Concord University. Let that sink in for a moment. Do the math in your head. Yes, I'm halfway through my seventh year as a college student. If I hadn't taken the spring 2010 semester off, this would have been my 14th semester. So, yeah, I've been here for a while. Haven't accomplished much, but that's slowly changing.

Classes start Wednesday. I have a total of 4 hours of classes. That wasn't my intent, as I picked out 15 or 16 hours of classes. The classes were full. I'm going to try to fix that situation in the next couple days.

The only 2 classes I have were in my major. That's one of the benefits of having one of the smallest (and possibly lamest) majors at Concord - the classes are never full. There's nothing wrong with my major itself, Communication Arts. To avoid confusion, I usually just say "journalism" when people ask me what I'm majoring in. Communication Arts isn't a bad major, I just don't think Concord was the best place to go to major in it.

I was a very naive 17-year-old boy who thought you just went to college and they prepared you for your career, in whatever field that may be. I forgot to factor in things like quality of curriculum, professor turnover, campus politics, etc... Those 3 things, in addition to other factors, have really soured me on my decision to attend Concord University.

If 24-year-old Chris Slater could go back in time and have a conversation with 17-year-old Chris, would I tell myself to not attend Concord? I don't know. Probably not. I would have likely told myself to not fuck around and finish my degree with the professors I enjoyed, before they left and I got stuck with what I have now. And I probably would have told myself to not work so hard on the newspaper (at the expense of classwork), because nobody really gave a shit about it except me and a few others.

I reasoned it at the time by telling myself that I was making a name for myself. A reputation. Something that would live on in posterity. Nobody would remember that I failed English 203, but everybody would benefit from what I brought to the newspaper. That's how things worked - somebody would add some new feature to the paper, then somebody after would tweak it and add something new and the paper - and ultimately, the students - would benefit. I saw 4 great years of upward momentum and growth on the newspaper during my time there. I sacrificed some school work to work on the newspaper, but I saw it as being part of a greater good.

For some reason though, I was seen as a problem by others on the staff when I finally became Editor-in-Chief. It seemed like they couldn't wait to get me off of the staff and out of their hairs. I left the staff and everything I brought to the paper went with it. It's one thing to redesign the front page. Sometimes things need a facelift. It's another thing entirely to scrap every design idea and layout that previous generations worked hard on. I'm not just talking about me - every previous Editor from the previous 4 years, their contributions were gone as well.

That greater good I was sacrificing for, it was gone. I worked so hard to figure out what was best for the newspaper, what the next generation of student journalists could use and add upon, and it was thrown away.

Now, when people wonder why I'm a 7th year college student, all I can do is write about something that nobody knows about. "Really, the paper used to be respected?" Yeah, it did. I feel it is now, to a degree. But, nothing like it was when I was working my way up the ranks. People who attended Concord University during the 2008-2009 school year, you know what I'm talking about. The misinformation, the important stories not printed, the random big chunks of white space where it looked like stories were supposed to go. It just looked sloppy, and that was one of the things I worked hardest on - to present a "neat" product.

Somebody left a comment in a previous blog and I feel as though it sums up my reputation. It was one of the blogs about the last day of the fall 2010 semester, when classes should have been canceled and they weren't because of the snow. I wrote about how I was looking into that and somebody left a comment to the effect of "Why is everything some big journalistic endeavor? Who cares?"

I think that comment speaks volumes about the attitude at Concord. I care about journalism at a school where most people don't care. There's a few. But, for the most part, I feel as though Concord does not care about journalism. But, that's just me. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope so.

But anyway, the semester starts this week. I'm going to try and get the classes that I need. I have a projected Fall 2011 graduation date that I'm working toward. I'm going to do what I should have been doing all along - focusing more on class and worrying less about everything else.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The power of social media

The last blog I posted was a review of WWE wrestler Goldust's autobiography. Click here to read it. I posted a link on Twitter and had a couple of "twitter friends" repost the link. Later that night, I check my twitter account and see the following from none other than Goldust himself - "wow very nice of u.....thank u so much."

Dustin Rhodes, the man behind the character of Goldust, saw my tweet (because I mentioned his name in it) and read my blog. He even took the time to tell me that he liked my review of his book. I thought that was very nice of him.

Without Twitter, he would never have read my blog and I would have never had the opportunity to be in a position to where anybody would be able to read it. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and etc... really link people together and allow them to network and connect in ways previously thought unimaginable.

To find me online:

Facebook - http://facebook.com/chrisslater

Twitter - http://twitter.com/chris_slater

Blog - http://chrisslater.blogspot.com/

Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Review - "Cross Rhodes: Goldust, Out of the Darkness"

"If you don't shut your mouths right now, I will come out there and stick my tongue down each and every one of your throats!" With that threat, the androgynous, cross-dressing Goldust would earn the venom of fans in arenas around the nation.

The character of Goldust was created by World Wrestling Entertainment Chairman Vince McMahon in the mid '90s and brought to life by journeyman veteran wrestler Dustin Runnels. Runnels had been known professionally for the first seven years of his career as Dustin Rhodes. He had spent those first seven years trying to get out of the shadow of his father - one of the most famous wrestlers of the 1980's - "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes.

Dustin saw the gold bodysuit and gold face paint of Goldust as a way to get out of his father's shadow and accomplish something on his own. And what he accomplished was something spectacular. His character was ahead of its time, causing riots in matches against such superstars as Scott "Razor Ramon" Hall and Roddy Piper.

Through the last 15 years, the character of Goldust has gone from being one of the most despised, sick characters in wrestling history, to a comedy character that the kids love. How he got there is a very interesting story. It's a story told in "Cross Rhodes: Goldust, Out of the Darkness."

[Click to watch: debut promo - Razor Ramom promo - WM 12 vs Roddy Piper (2nd half) - Promo vs Undertaker - blind date promo - 7-11 with Booker T - in bed with Booker T]

When I first heard that Goldust was releasing an autobiography, my interest was piqued. At a quick glance, the longevity of his career alone would make for a great book. He went from the dying days of the wrestling territory system of the 1980's, to World Championship Wrestling, to World Wrestling Entertainment, to Total Nonstop Action, and a few stops between in each of the three promotions.

Thinking about it a little more, I realized that there had to be a reason he left WWE and came back a number of times. There had to be a reason that he was out of the limelight for a while. There had to be a reason he was considered washed up and past his prime upon his latest return to WWE, but proved all of his doubters wrong by working his way into the best shape of his career and becoming a valuable part of WWE programming over the last two years.

The first thing I noticed upon reading "Cross Rhodes" was that Dustin wrote it by himself, without a ghost writer. Usually, an autobiography is written by somebody else. The person talks about his life and an author physically writes it. Check out an autobiography, there are usually two names on it. One is the person whose life is being chronicled, and then the second name is the person who actually physically wrote it.

Dustin joins the ranks of other WWE wrestlers Mick Foley, Adam "Edge" Copeland, and Jerry Lawler in writing his own autobiography.

Dustin is very frank about two huge issues in his life: his several-year estrangement with his father and his multi-year battle with drug and alcohol addiction.

Dustin had issues with Dusty from childhood, stemming from him not being around and constantly being on the road wrestling. Things got better once Dustin started his career, but issues surrounding Dusty and Dustin’s future wife Terri (known to wrestling fans as Marlena) caused them to stop speaking to each other. The Goldust character also led to issues between the two of them, as both saw it as Dustin shunning the Rhodes name. Dustin saw this as a positive at the time, while Dusty did not.

His drug issues started the way a lot of wrestling drug problems start, with prescription pain pill abuse. Dustin rationalized the abuse in his head at the time by telling himself that they were prescribed. "…these weren’t illegal drugs. Doctors gave them to me. … I just didn't have any idea what was actually happening. I didn’t realize the descent was under way, or that the future was about to become a darker shade of gray."

He goes from his peak of wrestling the semi-main event of WrestleMania XII in 1996, to living in a trailer park, borrowing money from his parents to pay the rent.

His addiction grew to nearly 30 pills a day, on top of drinking, as well as using cocaine. He kept rationalizing his problems to himself, while at the same time knowing he had problems. "I had been taking painkillers for so long that I had convinced myself I really needed them. I was taking medicine because I worked in a tough business. That was the story I had cemented into my mind. But drugs have a way of altering everything, including the stories you tell yourself. Eventually I started doing a little coke before matches while retaining my vow to never drink alcohol before I got into the ring, as if that was something to be proud of."

Eventually, Dustin reached rock bottom in 2008 and reached out to WWE for help. They had recently launched a program to every current and former employee to provide drug rehabilitation services at no cost. Dustin took them up on their offer and got himself clean.

Later that year, WWE reached out to Dustin about making a few appearances as Goldust. Those appearances led to a career rebirth with WWE, where Dustin still works two years later. These days, at 40-years-old, he is one of the oldest full-time wrestlers on the roster. Dustin's new role is to help the younger wrestlers out in the ring to achieve their full potential, a role Dustin relishes. "In the end, Vince gave me another chance. I’m grateful for that opportunity. I’ll pass on every bit of knowledge I have to the next generation of guys. It’s the right thing to do. If I can do anything to help these guys get to the next level, then I’m happy to do so. I was one of those guys once."

"Cross Rhodes: Goldust, Out of the Darkness" at its core, is a story about a man who has led an extraordinary life and lived to tell it. He stepped out of his father's shadow to become one of the biggest names in the business, then nearly lost it all in a haze of drugs and bad decisions.

One of the few flaws with this book is that it skips around a little bit chronologically near the end, and occasionally Dustin will lose his train of thought in the middle of a story and start talking about something else. With those two notes aside, "Cross Rhodes" is a book that is required reading for any serious fan of professional wrestling, and something that even a casual fan could pick up and enjoy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What I read online

I think being able to read is one of the most important things in the world. Words are everywhere. Books, newspapers, signs, menus, instruction manuals, etc... You need to read.

I love to read. I don't have a television at my apartment. I read and write blogs. That's pretty much my life. So, what better thing to do than read a blog about writing. I mean, write a blog about reading. (I don't know if that was funny or not. It was intended to be. If not, forgive me)

Anyway... here is a list off the top of my head of things I read online. I have it broken down into different sections.

National News

The New York Times ... one of the best places to go for national news and reporting ... still one of the first to break several big stories ... several great columnists as well ... decent sports section

USA Today ... groundbreaking paper in that it was one of the first to use a lot of color and lots of photographs ... great entertainment and sports sections ... technology is a fun section to read as well ... most news stories are short and informative, written in a way that's easy for people to skim through

Associated Press ... wire service that transmits stories around the globe for other newspapers to pick up ... lots of smaller papers feature AP stories in a prominent manner ... created the "AP Stylebook," which outlines the general style rules of journalism that all newspapers have adopted

Washington Post ... good source of politicial stories, as well as a lot of national news ... sports section is mostly dedicated to their local sports, but they cover national sports as well ... informative paper that I enjoy reading

Local News

Bluefield Daily Telegraph ... I live in Mercer County, in which Bluefield is located ... covers wide array of Bluefield & Princeton news, as well as the smaller surrounding areas ... sports section covers mostly high school sports around the state

Princeton Times ... Under the same umbrella as the BDT, the Times is a weekly paper that covers Princeton ... lots of human-interest features, as well as coverage of Princeton politics and businesses ... I've written sports stories for the Princeton Times before

Charleston Daily Mail ... Based out of the capital of West Virginia, the Daily Mail is one of two independently-owned Charleston papers ... seen as the more conservative of the two papers

Charleston Gazette ... One of two independently-owned Charleston papers ... more liberal of the two

West Virginia Watchdog ... The Watchdog's mission statement notes that is is the home for investigative political journalism in West Virginia ... it's the place to go for quick updates about WV politics ... run by Steven Allen Adams

Magazines

Rolling Stone ... One of the best places to go for in-depth coverage of those who are hot in the entertainment field ... several award-winning investigative politicial pieces have been featured in recent years ... one complaint would be that the magazine is sometimes too "left leaning."

SPIN ... One of the more mainstream of the alternative music magazines ... you'll find a lot of stuff here that won't be covered in Rolling Stone ... focuses more on music, while RS has branched out into several different areas

Maxim ... One of the most well-rounded magazines out there ... that is, of course, if you're a man ... designed specificially for men, Maxim has a great mix of entertainment, columns, investigative journalism, humor, and pictures of pretty ladies

Pro Wrestling Illustrated ... The premier professional wrestling magazine ... one of the few magazines still standing, after a number folded in the last decade ... one of the oldest as well, having started in the 1970's ... publishes a list each year of the Top 500 wrestlers in the world (PWI 500)

Blogs

*These are blogs that I read semi-regularly. I'm sure there are more that I check out from time-to-time that I forgot to mention. The blogs are listed in order from how close I am to the author. I've actually only spoken face-to-face with the first two blog authors. The rest are ranked in order of how likely it is that I will meet them and how often I speak with them on Facebook/Twitter*

Candace Lately ... My girlfriend, Candace Nelson, has a blog ... she's mentioned me several times ... check it out if you want to know what I did over Christmas ... she doesn't blog a lot, but she's a very good writer with some interesting stuff to say (and I thought that before I dated her)

I am John Meadows ... A graduate of Concord University ... went through a period of not blogging much, but that seems to be turned around ... has a fairly popular video blog on his YouTube channel

Ashley Bosserman; Yahoo! Contributor Network ... Technically not a blog, but I didn't know where else to put it ... attends Concord University and writes about a lot of unique topics

Politico in Stilettos ... Cartney McCracken writes about WV politics "as seen through the eyes of a 25-yr old stiletto-obsessed pro~fashional" ... fresh perspective on what can be a rather mundane subject

Stephen on Stuff ... Title states exactly what the blog is about, a guy named Stephen who writes about a variety of stuff ... the stuff is interesting and his writing style is inviting and funny

Witty For A Change ... Blog written by Yolanda Curiel, better known to me and others on twitter as @shot_of_flair ... writes in her blog bio that she hopes somebody is listening to what she writes - I am, and others should as well

Spiritwasteland's blog ... While she hasn't updated in a while, London youth Georgia Bowden has a love of music and a very unique opinion about it ... inspired me to check out the White Stripes documentary after reading her review of it (click here to read my review)

Under the Ring ... Journalist Phil Strum reviews World Wrestling Entertainment television shows, in addition to interviewing wrestlers

Ring Posts ... Baltimore Sun writer Kevin Eck has one of the most-popular wrestling blogs out there ... reviews the shows and features several interviews with wrestlers

Storm Wrestling ... Retired wrestler Lance Storm is considered one of the most underrated wrestlers to ever step into the ring ... one of the first wrestlers to maintain a website, his blogs on a multitude of subjects are interesting ... mostly talks about wrestling, but ventures into other areas as well

JR's Bar-b-q ... The website is for Jim Ross' side business of selling BBQ sauce and beef jerkey, but his blog has proven to be the most popular feature on the site ... regarded as one of the greates wrestling announcers of all time, he is also considered one of the smartest men in the wrestling business ... writes mostly about wrestling, mma, and college football

* * *

Those lists are not all-inclusive. There are other newspapers I read. I read a lot more magazines. I read several blogs at least once. Some of those blogs I don't read regularly. I just wanted to throw several reading options out there and hopefully give somebody something new to read.

If you have anything you'd like share regarding your reading habits, feel free to leave them in the comments section. I didn't even touch books. If anybody has anything I didn't mention or wants to comment on my selections, leave a comment.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Gossip (reprinted from The Concordian)

Back in October, I reprinted my "Ho-lloween" column I wrote in a 2009 issue of The Concordian. A lot of people told me they liked my columns from back then and I decided I would start reprinting more of them. Like a lot of things I decide to do, I never got around to doing it. Three months later and not a single column since has been reprinted. Well, that changes now.

I wrote this column in November of 2009. I had been hearing a lot of people at work (Pizza Hut) talk trash about each other. It made me wonder what people were saying about me.

I realized that there was no way to eliminate this problem. People are always going to talk about other people behind their backs. That's never going away. So, my point with this column was to appeal to the individual, to have that person make a conscious choice to not spread rumors and gossip. While the problem as a whole will never go away, maybe one or two people reading it would realize they were part of the problem and make an effort to correct themselves.

[Side note: click here to read the "Ho-lloween" column (as well as get a backstory on why my column was called "Communication Breakdown") and click here to read every story I wrote during the fall 2009 semester with The Concordian]

* * *

Originally published Nov. 18, 2009; The Concordian, Concord University

By Chris Slater

Welcome to the latest edition of "Communication Breakdown." Let me break it down for you.

When I’m at work, I hear my fellow co-workers complain about each other. It’s usually something along the lines of, "I can't stand so-and-so," or "so-and-so is so stupid," or "can you believe what so-and-so did?" Things of that nature.

I noticed that I've heard complaints about every person at my place of employment, with the exception of one.

Me.

I have never heard anybody complain about me. Why? Because that would defeat the purpose of gossip and talking behind my back.

I've often wondered what people say behind my back about me. I try to think about what physical attributes they can make fun of, what weird quirks I have that people may not like, etc.

I can understand partaking in a little bit of gossip every now and then. It’s fun to know what somebody thinks of somebody else. It’s fun to know stuff about people.

Gossip is fun. But, it can be taken too far.

Throwing out big secrets of people is not cool. Same with starting rumors. It's just not something that should be done.

I was the victim of a rumor when I was in the seventh grade. I had a friend, Travis, that I hung out with all the time. The two of us would eat lunch together every day, and spend a lot of time together. We were close.

According to the rumor, we were very close. We were gay.

It really hurt that people were saying something about me that wasn’t true. I was angry and sad as a result, and that rumor really affected me for a while. So, I can understand how spreading a rumor can have a negative impact on people.

Gossip, when kept to a minimum and not turned into rumors, can be harmless fun. It too, though, can be bad. If somebody found out what you were saying about them, it could lead to hurt feelings, or an awkward confrontation. Your gossip can ruin the reputation of the person you’re talking about. If you tell me that "so-and-so" is terrible at his job, that’s going to make me think less of him.

How can you avoid gossip?

It's easy to not gossip. Just don’t say things about people. It’s much harder to not listen to gossip. I guess if you don't gossip as much, then people around you won’t either. It’s worth a try.

Although, it's doubtful that will work. Some people just love to "dish the dirt."

Gossip and rumors are something that will never go away. You can only stop the spread of rumors and gossip from one person - yourself.