This expression usually accompanies a profound statement about someone or an event of astronomical proportions. The person making the statement is confident that they are the first to relate the story to you. Usually this statement is preceded by “let me tell you about this, you wont believe it” or “hey, did you hear about… you won’t believe this.” Why shouldn’t I believe it? If it is true, then there should be no doubt in either of our minds. On the other hand, why bother if the tale is only a rumor.
Rumors begin as simple, sometimes meaningless statements made during a conversation between two or more individuals. With each telling, the story becomes more graphic and the final outcome could very well sound unbelievable.
To illustrate, let’s assume that Fred and Joe are conversing. Joe: “Did you hear about the preacher getting up at 6:00 a.m. and his wife slept until 6:30?” Fred then relates the story to Jim. “I heard that the preacher beat his wife up.” Jim’s version as told to Bill. “The preacher and his wife had a big fight.” Bill relates his rendition to Mary. “Jim told me that the preacher broke his wife’s nose.” Mary calls Jane. “I hope the preacher’s wife will be able to walk with the cast on her leg.” Jane tells Margaret. “Poor thing, I heard that she has bruises all over her body as a result of their big fight.” Margaret then asked Ned, “Have you heard when the preacher’s wife will be out of the hospital?” Ned tells Alex. “I heard that the preacher’s wife has only a few more days left.” Alex calls the preacher and says, “You have my sympathy. Is there anything that I can do for you?” The preacher replies, “Yes, please don’t wake my wife up.” “She sleeps until 6:30, you know.”
Exaggerated? Sure, but you can readily see how a simple statement can get completely out of hand. We must carefully consider the implications of anything in which there is the slightest cause for exaggeration. Doing so will prevent rumors that if left to intensify could seriously damage another.
Think about it. Are we adding a little spice to what would be an otherwise superficial statement? Could any additions cause undue pain or stress? If so, then we would be extremely wise to refrain from repeating any undocumented statement.
â€œYou wonâ€™t believe this but, according to my sources, the wife was the one that beat the preacher up and the funeral is on Monday.â€
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