Playing the gossip game

“I’ve told you 10 million times – don’t exaggerate!”

There used to be an old party game named “Gossip” that was used to illustrate how fast gossip moves and how quickly the original story can change.

The first person in a “gossip circle” would whisper a tidbit to the person next to him. That person would then relate it to the next person in the circle and it would continue until the piece of gossip had traveled the full circle back to the originator. Usually by then, the piece of gossip bore no resemblance to the original story.

A local couple who were affected by Tropical Storm Flossie got a taste of how the game of “Gossip” works. Mark Minobe was shocked when he touched a kitchen faucet during the thunder and lightning storm that came with Flossie. He fell to his knees and his heart rate escalated. His wife called 911.

Well, the Minobes discovered that by the time his story had made the rounds of emergency dispatchers and onto social media, the story had changed that he’d been struck by lightning in the middle of a field.

Joslyn Minobe, Mark’s wife, said she heard the story begin to escalate as she listened to emergency dispatchers.

“The first dispatch said he (Minobe) was shocked, but then I heard the second dispatch say he was struck by lightning and the third call said he was electrocuted. It escalated ridiculously,” Joslyn told The Maui News.

The next day a local social media site said Mark had been hit by lightning in a field.

Mark went to the hospital as a precaution because he is a diabetic with a history of high blood pressure. But he returned home within an hour.

The Minobes spoke to the newspaper to set the record straight about what happened to Mark and also to let people know that there are dangers within your own house during a lightning storm.

It must be human nature to exaggerate. Mark Minobe’s story shows that some party games are pretty realistic.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.