Rumors have a nasty way of spreading like wildfire once they get started – whether they’re true or not. They can do everything from giving you a chuckle about the absurdity of it all to doing serious damage to a person’s life. People on Quora share the most remarkable rumors they’ve ever heard about themselves, and there are some whoppers.
Comments have been edited for clarity. The source can be found the end of the article.
I was walking down the street one day about ten years ago when an acquaintance nearly bumps into me, does a double take, and exclaims, “You’re alive!”
I looked open-mouthed at her, and said “umm…yes, why wouldn’t I be?”
She replied “But I thought you were dead!”
Me, with a very puzzled look, “Why would you think that?!”
“Because of the Memorial Garden at Public School 6!”
“Whaa? What are you talking about?”
“You know! That garden next to the school, the David S. Rose Memorial Garden!”
I told her I had no clue as to what she was talking about, but I immediately walked over to the school, where right next to the front door I saw a neatly manicured flower garden, with a lovely bronze plaque saying “In Honor of David S. Rose”!
It turns out that my mother had donated a flower garden to the school in gratitude for my experiences there…and neither she, nor the school, nor anyone else had thought to mention it to me, and because of the plaque a fair number of people assumed I had passed away at an untimely age.
Gossip almost led to my expulsion from High School.
This is still hilarious to me even 30 years after it happened. I’ll start by saying that I grew up in the suburbs of Houston, TX. Back then (1980s), the town was much smaller than it is now and the high school was very typical of the community: mostly white, a lot of farmland and farm kids, football was the only sport of any merit, and being different meant you were ostracized by your peers.
I was a bit different.
I had a mohawk, listened to punk rock and new wave, wore clothes that other considered to be weird, and never went to a single football game, was into Theater Arts rather than drill team and cheerleading. On weekends I drove my car into downtown Houston (that was a big deal back then) some 35 miles away to see bands and cruise the Westheimer strip while my classmates cruised Four Corners which was a single intersection on an empty parking lot beside a McDonalds.
So now you have a bit of background about me.
I’m sure there was a lot of gossip about me and my friends simply because we were different, but there was one rumor that took on a life of its own.
One day in my junior year, I was called out of class into the principals office. I had not done anything wrong so I started to worry when I saw my parents, a counselor, a teacher, and also the vice principal also in attendance for his meeting. I really had no idea what it was about. They then proceed to inform me that I was being expelled for engaging in satanic rituals on school grounds and for promoting satanism at school functions.
I started laughing in disbelief, something that the adults in the room did not find amusing. I find out then that there was a sheet of notebook paper found in the lunchroom on which a fabricated list of names had been written, along with various titles, supposedly forming a cult for Satan worshipers. Beside my name was the title High Priestess. My best guy friend was given the role of Grand Master. In all there were about 20 names of classmates who were supposedly all involved in some organization to plot the killing of cats and babies and setting fires to neighbors barns.
All of the names on the list were members of the Drama Club. It was said that we were using Drama Club activities such as UIL competitions to spread satanism to other schools in order to recruit new members.
The whole incident was preposterous! I was still laughing when I tried to point out the fact that I don’t believe there is a god so why would I believe in Satan? That explanation didn’t help my case at all. Especially with my mother. I also pointed out that every name on this list were students who were in Drama class and perhaps it was someone who didn’t like us and were trying to get us into trouble?
In the end, I didn’t get expelled but changed schools for my senior year. I also learned a valuable lesson: Gossip, however silly and unbelievable, can be detrimental and can alter the course of a persons life. I never went to a high school reunion and only keep in touch with one person from my hometown. When I visit my parents I never get nostalgic and drive past my old high school. Although I do wonder what ever became of my Drama teacher. She was the only one who stood up for me in the meeting and told them that despite how I dressed and the music I listened to I was really a good kid.
This is actually an amazing piece of gossip that I heard about myself that I wish was true: that I was on the Seinfeld show playing a prostitute. I never saw the episode, apparently the girl looked just like me. I had red hair at the time. A google search of Seinfeld prostitute yielded a picture that wasnt too great, maybe I will have to hunt down the episode. Most likely one person saw it and told everyone it was me.
When I went to my 20 year grade school reunion EVERYBODY asked me about this. I would have loved to have said that was me and played along with it. I would play a hooker on Seinfeld in a heartbeat.
I was the stuff of legends during my school days, and there were all kinds of rumours and gossip about me. Some of the better ones include:
Burned Down The School.
I accidentally caused a small fire in my school’s chemistry lab. A work station got a bit scorched, but otherwise there was no damage. But rumour being what it is, within about 6 months of the incident I’d burned down half the building. I even heard about friends of friends who had suffered terrible burns.
Expelled for Beating Up a Teacher.
This is my favourite one. I’ve never been expelled from school, About 3 weeks before the end of the school year, when I’d be leaving for high school, I got involved in a fight with a guy who’d been trying and failing to bully me for years. The guy sucker punched me, I lost it and kicked the crap out of him. A teacher came up behind me and tried to drag me off the guy. I shrugged out of the teacher’s grip and walked off. An hour later I was summoned to the headmaster’s office, where I was told that they had no grounds to expel me (I hadn’t started the fight) but that they thought it best if I left early and didn’t return. Basically, I got to kick the crap out of a bully and got an extra 3 weeks of summer vacation.
Totally not true. I never blackmailed anyone. I had several teachers I used to sell contraband to though. Those teachers would turn a blind eye to minor rule breaking, and one of them even covered for me when I cut class. This special treatment lead to the belief that I was blackmailing the teachers, and all manner of wild speculation on what dirt I had on them. Those speculations were usually more amusing than the idea that I was blackmailing teachers… At least until speculation speculated that one of the teachers had tried molesting me.
That I tried to kill myself.
When I was a teenager my family moved to another state and bought a restaurant in a fairly insular working class neighborhood. Most of my family members worked in the poplar local restaurant. People in the neighborhood came to know those of us who worked there.
Unbeknownst to our regular customers we had additional siblings who lived in other states. One was my sister who had cancer and was in and out of remission for years. Less than a year into our new lives, she became terminally ill.
After she died, we posted note about a death in the family and that the business would be closed for a few days on the door.
About three weeks after the funeral one of our regular customers came in and asked to speak with me privately. He asked how I was. I told him every day was hard. He was kind and said he had heard about my suicide attempt and was hoping I was okay. I told him I was confused because I had never tried to kill myself. He said he’d heard about “the daughter dying” but when everybody saw me after we reopened, people concluded I must have just attempted to kill myself.
I thanked him for asking about my well-being and for having the courage to tell me what was being said. I explained that my beloved sister who had lived out of state had died.
He was horrified. He apologized repeatedly. The whole neighborhood has come to the wrong conclusion and had been speculating about what drove me to do it. He was deeply embarrassed to have believed the rumors.
I told him I was grateful to him for getting to the truth.
I did feel extremely weird inside for quite a long time when serving the locals and wondered just what people had been thinking and how nobody except this one decent person had the guts to ask me and learn what actually happened.
That experience over 30 years ago still makes me distrust and discourage gossip and to ask honest, heartfelt questions, even in the face of awkward situations.
Probably the best I’ve heard recently requires a bit of background.
To say I’m a fixer-upper is to miss a chance to say physically knackered. Male pattern baldness, strong prescription glasses, grey in my beard, arthritic knees, and portly is an understatement.
The other person involved is female, twenty years my junior, able to swim across lakes in competition, goes running etc.
We were mates at work, but people began to approach me to say that they’d heard she and I were waking up next to each other.
The truth? She’d had some issues and I’d offered the use of my spare room if she needed a place to get back on her feet. That became misconstrued.
However, I took it as a form of flattery that people were willing to believe it.
In the mid 80s I was in the Navy stationed at a small base called US NAVFAC Brawdy.
At a small base, like a small town, rumors start fast and spread faster.
I was dating/living with a Navy gal who worked in a separate department, and we wanted to keep our relationship discreet to avoid the rumor mill/scuttlebutt.
I was at a party with some buddies and my girlfriend was at work. At the end of the party, a very nice looking gal made a very obvious pass at me in front of everyone (cmon back to my place and Ill even make you breakfast….) and I politely declined and headed out with my buddies.
The people at the party immediately assumed I was gay. I had to be, since no red-blooded man would turn down such an offer from a smoking hot gal.
The rumor spread fast, and in the 80s, being gay in the Navy was a serious dischargeable offense.
When the rumor finally came around me, I couldnt stop laughing and the guys in my department knew me, knew I wasnt gay, and knew what a practical joker I was.
When I found out the name of the guy who had been hard charging with this rumor, I decided that he would be my departments new source of entertainment.
I had everybody pony up a few bucks, we sent him flowers from a secret admirer.
I went by his workspace often and struck up conversations with him and complimented him on his big muscles and tattoos.
Yeah, he was getting freaked out big time.
Ironically, he actually worked right next to my girlfriend. He finally got so distraught, he went to his superiors to report that there was a gay man flaming about, chasing after him.
His superiors, not knowing me, took the serious accusation to my bosses, who knew me, and my bosses spent the next 15 minutes laughing and rolling on the floor.
When my bosses heard that I might have sent him flowers and I was gay stalking him, that was good for another 20 minutes of laughter.
Finally, they called me in the office, and the scene is 4 Navy Chiefs, all red-faced and tears of laughter rolling down their faces. My Lieutenant was trying REALLY hard to make a straight face, but he was ex-enlisted, so he had a sense of humor too. The Lieutenant who DIDNT know me was very annoyed that every time he said something, everyone would start laughing at him.
Sadly, I had to reveal my girlfriend, clearing my name but then everyone else knew.
Many years after college, an old classmate found me on Facebook and congratulated me on my music career. She asked me to let her know if I came to her town on tour because she would love to come see me perform. If you had ever heard me sing, you would know that is not a possibility.
I was more than a little confused. I remembered her, but I wondered if she really remembered me. After chatting a while, the story came out.
Apparently there is a somewhat well known singer in Ireland who shares my first and maiden names. She is about my age and while we dont resemble each other much, when viewed on a small photo on a CD, we were about the same build with similar hair. Someone from college decided it was me, and told all our friends.
I set that one person straight, but since there are many old friends I havent spoken to since college, it is a good bet that there are still people out there who think I moved to Ireland after graduation to sing backup for Van Morrison and Paul Brady.
I was accused of pushing someone into a lake at a wedding.
He was the partner of the groom’s sister.
The groom’s whole family were trying to keep us apart the rest of the night, and there were evil looks and snide comments going around. We were all staying at the same country house, which didn’t help.
He’d gone to tie his shoelace on a low wall by the lake, missed his footing (it was a very merry wedding) and plunged in. The lake was maybe 10′ deep, and he was wearing a rented dinner suit.
As he pulled himself over the wall and was confronted by the groom’s parents, the best option at that point seemed to be to make up a story…. Blaming me seemed easier than confessing he was so drunk as to have missed his footing…
In the cold light of day, wisdom prevailed, and he confessed all.
I was invited to his wedding too – and it was near a lake. We both stayed some distance from the lake shore though.
I dont hear much gossip about myself— Im not sure if its because people are super sneaky at gossipping or if people just dont care enough to talk about me.
I do remember hearing a certain piece of gossip when I was in elementary school— I was maybe ten at the time.
I was on the playground with a few of my friends when a girl from the other 5th grade class came over to me.
So like, everybodys been saying you stuff your bra. Im just curious.
Huh? I looked down. In all the times Id put on my training bra, Id never seen a place to put stuffing.
Yeah. I dont know— thats just what the other girls were saying. Someone said they saw you pull toilet paper out of your shirt so we all wanted to know if thats true.
Wh… Why would I…? I didnt know I needed to wipe there— or what that had to do with putting stuffing in my bra.
Hmm. Well, I was just wondering! She smiled and skipped off in the other direction to join her gaggle of giggling girls.
It was a few years before I learned that stuffing your bra does not involve removing the stuffing from your teddy bears and shoving it in your shirt.
It also has nothing to do with wiping your boobs after you poop.
And for the record— I did not stuff my bra. I didnt even know that was an option.
When I was in my early twenties, I left a job working at a piano store under less-than-friendly circumstances. My then-manager was doing some unsavory stuff and trying to shift the blame for it onto me, and I couldn’t make the owner see that. I wasted a considerable amount of time in fighting that losing battle, then quit to take another job.Years passed, and I found myself planning my wedding. I decided I wanted to hire one of my piano-teacher coworkers to play at the reception.
When I finally tracked him down, he seemed inordinately surprised to hear from me.Turns out that my former boss used my departure to tell my coworkers I was going home to die. He knew I was a childhood cancer survivor, so he concocted a story about how the cancer had returned and really fleshed out the whole thing.
My new job took me into an entirely different sphere where I didn’t really have contact with my former coworkers, so they saw no reason not to believe him. After a while, he broke the news to them that I was dead, and they believed that too…until I returned from the Other Side to email my former coworker and scared him half to death himself.
I’m not sure why the owner did that, other than to convey he had the upper hand when I left (unnecessary- I didn’t spread tales or try to recruit any of them to my side). Or maybe he was just a compulsive liar. Who knows?
I do know, with utter certainty, that I was not really dead.The store closed not long after I left, probably due in no small part to the managerial shadiness I mentioned.
When I went to look up the address of the former location when I was filling out some paperwork, I stumbled across the former owner’s obituary. He had died of cancer.