‘GARBAGE IN GARBAGE OUT’ By Mwangi Ndegwa

Tess was a beautiful lady who had everything going well in her life. Having come from a well to do family, Tess had what many...


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Tess was a beautiful lady who had everything going well in her life. Having come from a well to do family, Tess had what many could only wish for in life. She’d been  educated in the finest schools and immediately after college, she got a well paying job at an international organization. The salary was good and this was topped up by a monthly upkeep stipend from her parents who owned vast business empires. All this helped Tess live a perfect life. And yes, despite all these, Tess had one serious problem; Gossip.

She was like a tape recorder, picking information from one source and replaying it to another. She never took time to check the authenticity of whatever the rumour was. She was always itching to share the latest “sweet news” she had collected with whomever was willing to listen to her.

Matters came to a head when she started spreading malicious rumours about her workmates which always turned out to be wrong. Tess was so daring that she even spread rumours about her boss. When her boss got wind of it, she hatched an idea which would stop Tess’s nasty behavior, once and for all.

The boss sent out a circular to all employees apart from Tess. It was marked private and confidential and it was not supposed to be shared with anybody. In the circular, every employee was supposed to drop their garbage in one designated place at their set time. No two people were supposed to be there at the same time. This was to be done for a whole week and she gave instructions that the garbage collectors were not to collect the garbage for a whole week. The following Monday, Tess’s boss arrived very early, took the trash container and emptied it on Tess’s desk. Then she locked the office and left the office through the executive elevator. She went back to her car and waited for staff to arrive at eight. She knew Tess was always the last one to report, so her plan would work perfectly. Every body who walked into that office that morning was shocked. They didn’t know who had done this and why. When Tess walked through the door, all eyes turned towards  her. When she saw the mess on her usually immaculately tidy desk, Tess let out a loud scream and started accusing her real and imagined enemies of wanting her sacked. As this drama was unfolding, her boss walked in and called the office to order.

When everyone was silent, the boss calmly looked Tess right in the eye and calmly told her “I am the one who did this.” Everyone was horrified. How could their boss who was the epitome of finess do such a thing? Then she continued to address Tess. “You have been slandering everyone here, spreading false rumours and gossip about things you have no evidence about. You have been a thorn in the flesh of everybody here. You need to know that the moment you gossip or spread malicious rumours about a person without first confirming the authenticity of it, you are actually dumping garbage in their minds and the stench from a mental garbage is worse than physical garbage. That pain you felt when you saw all that trash on your desk is what people feel when they hear you slander or spread malicious gossip about them. Let this be a lesson to you and all others who have a character similar to yours. When you listen to gossip and rumours, you are allowing your mind to be used as a dump site and once it piles up, you will feel the need to empty it and the only place to do so, is in the minds of other people. “Her boss then called cleaners to clear the mess. From that moment, Tess would never be caught anywhere near people who were discussion matters o which, they had no supporting evidence.

In our day to day lives, we meet so many people like Tess. Some of us are in fact, Tess herself. We have the 411 about anybody and everybody. When somebody’s business, school life, relationship or social life is taking a hit, the Tesses of this world, have the finer details until when they are served the same meal that they’ve been serving others. If you listen to gossip and rumours, you become as guilty as the giver. Let us learn to respect people’s privacy and never speak about something or somebody until we have confirmed the authenticity of that, which we are talking about. Do not allow your mind to become a dumping ground of malice, gossip and rumours. To read more posts by Mwangi, click HERE

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