Ever been in a private conversation with another adult, or even a very personal discipline conversation with your child? Suddenly an egotistical clown stomps through the room, or the lobby, or wherever you are, and he/she just has to interrupt?
“Hey, hey, hey!”
“What’s going on here?”
“Why have you two got your heads together?”
And other nosy variations of the same with maybe a little crudeness added in, depending on the crowd you run with. (I’m assuming you are not abusing the child. If you are, all bets are off, buddy.)
And some individuals then go so far as to march right up to you to punch your arm, as though you’re good friends. The urge to kill is quite strong then and it’s difficult to smile even weakly at them. Rarely are such interruptions actually about something urgent. So when you’re a writer, the other person’s fate is sealed.
A modulated child knows he can’t just interrupt Mom or Dad when either is in a serious conversation. Kids are NOT stupid. They sense when something important is going down. Mom (or Dad or any adult) gives off entirely different vibes than she does when just yakking on the phone and catching up with Grandma or her friends. When they’re old enough to understand, children only need to learn to wait their turn. So since kids are so smart, why can’t grown-ups act like grown-ups?
Perhaps it’s human nature to invent happenings when lives lack excitement. That’s how yellow journalism got started, along with the need for greed. William Randolph Hearst built a newspaper empire that still plagues us today, especially if you’re some sort of celebrity.
I think the most common cause of trying to ruin someone else’s reputation is a rather vindictive curiosity, a character weakness that could be controlled but can’t abide the thought of being left out of anything. “I have to be the first to know what’s going on with those two! Her husband’s only been dead for six months after all!”
Well, my dear, it’s really none of your business. It’s perfectly normal to want to be part of the in-crowd. No one likes to be shunned or always left out. And no one ever should be, unless they’ve done something totally inexcusable. But…some things you are never going to know. Get over it!
And definitely, do not ever annoy a writer. I, for one, will put you in a book and kill you off.