Some days it just seems like when you wake up and listen to the local gossip, life is as near to soap opera as you can get, without getting the local bill from the cable or satellite network. All calls are local and usually from just across the street or down the road but the news is just as excitingly bizarre as the ones you hear and see on those reality shows or home made video programs.
Life in the neighbourhood sure isn’t dull when you get the first phone call or tip from the police about not venturing out on the streets because some drunk guy with a gun/polar bear/wounded wolf is at it again. Not all news is good news though and usually good gossip is based on good old fashioned prefabricated imagination with a sprinkle of that personal thought to the end of the story and then passing it on down the street in its amended form.
I’ve yet to hear any good gossip lately, meaning something that is good and is supportive of the people. Maybe good news travels slowly and bad news travels as fast as the yap can spew it out. I’ve yet to hear gossip on housing and industry and whether or not there will be some work out there for the poor and unemployed. I’ve yet to hear that someone with a good conscience and sound mind has helped one who is sick or unable to get around. I’ve yet to hear good gossip on the progress of the social situation that plagues many a community. I guess that progressive gossip is just not something that people like to talk about, but rather of the human shenanigans of the neighbor or in-law who just doesn’t make the grade in someone’s eyes.
Sometimes I’m almost hesitant about making that journalistic call to the police force on your average day, checking up on stories that might make the papers, only to discover that the call you make could be the day’s latest story in the life of a Cree community or just be an average bust of your average guy on a drunken splurge of stupidity. Sometimes the story is just too average for the excitement and gossip junkie, thus never making the grade for the reader. Besides, who wants to read a boring story when juicy gossip can make your day?
On this one particular request to check up on from critically acclaimed Editor Will, I was perplexed by the lack of gossip of the happening that took place during my deep sleep period in the wee hours of the morning. Maybe, just maybe, nothing happened and the gossip mongers couldn’t find enough meat on the bone to chew on, much less spit it out in a juicier format. Maybe it’s a conspiracy of silence that doesn’t go beyond the home and hearth, something that is kept quiet until someone can’t take the pressure and spills the beans after quaffing a few extra beers down at the pub. Sometimes, some of the best stories are told in its liquid format, when just the right numbness takes the edge off an otherwise great story.
Human behaviour aside, the need for one to spice up their life with another’s woes seems to be a universal symptom and where the need for the right information with the straight truth is overshadowed by plain old reporting of the who, what, where, when and why seems to be slowly fading from the old school of journalism. The plain and simple truth cannot be plain and simple anymore. It has to be spiced up with just the right amount of sensationalism, and that is where I come in. I should be working for the tabloids but, hey, I live in a Cree community, where even the neighbors are suspect and the truth eventually comes out.
Ed Note: The opinions of Sonny Orr do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Nation magazine, its owners, publishers, reporters, editors, the Nation dogs, administrative assistants, window washer, cleaning lady or the graphic designers. However, one salesperson agrees that their opinion is reflected in Mr. Orr’s writing, while one salesperson does not.