I recently met a man who doesn't read newspapers and doesn't watch television and is not, as he said, "an Internet person." You can imagine all the things that us news followers have been deeply aware of that I did not tell him about. I wonder if it is possible to not even hear about the oil in The Gulf or the "change of staff " and the folks in Afghanistan who may be wishing that they too had shunned the media.
My mother, as I have mentioned before, told me to not write anything that I wouldn't want to have published in the morning news. And we could add...and don't say anything you wouldn't want interpretively written up by someone else. Just because a rolling stone won't gather moss you can't assume that nothing else will be collected. It's important to be careful who you, as they say in the journalism world, embed.
I was thoroughly "embedded" myself this morning and I woke, not because I was ready, but because my cell phone was ringing. I answered but no one spoke back to me. I put it on speakerphone. I could see who it was that was calling, and I waited, it was someone I'm always willing to talk to. "Hello, hello, I'm here," I said. Whistling came through, sweetly, loud and clear.
"Summertime" was the melody and he can not only carry a tune, he even mimicked the vibrato of singing. As I lay in bed, in between giggling and waking,and enjoying the whistled tune. I realized it was an accidental call. I was apparently the last call he'd made the prior evening and now some button had been pushed and his private whistling was being aired. As innocent as it all was, I felt strange, because he didn't know I could hear him nor had he intended to be heard. He was free whistling, whistling in his own private moment for all he was worth.
I hung up and called him back and when he answered I spouted, I wasn't up for singing yet, the lyrics to the song of his tune: "Summertime and the living is easy, fish are jumping and ..."
"Ah, my meeting just started, can I call you back?" he said. Did he sound somewhat bewildered or had he already figured out that he'd called and given me an unintended early morning cell phone concert?
That's how easy it is for information to be unintentionally shared, and while "Bread on the Water" is no "Rolling Stone," here I am telling you about it, albeit not in any way injurious to the identity, mission or hopefully even the feelings of the exposed whistler. I'd like to think I'd protect him even if he wasn't someone very dear to me who I've known my entire life.
But think, you could accidentally push the button on your phone while you are making some ad hominem attack, some comment that reveals your irritations or prejudices rather than your intellect or heart; these things can and do happen.
I say with great respect that some people have impossibly hard jobs; I can't begin to understand all that some duties might entail. So all I can suggest is, if at all possible, whistle while you work. It could cover, like love, a multitude of sins and it might even keep you out of the news...though you could still wind up in someone's blog.