Do you remember playing the “telephone game” in school? The teacher would tell one person a story who would then tell that story (or however they remember hearing it) to the next person. This would continue around the room, and the last person would tell the class the version of the story they heard. This version would, of course, be worlds different from the original story. The moral of the story is, always confirm something before believing it.

This telephone game is often played out in my family. In fact, it’s a well known fact that we communicate to each other through other people. If I want to tell my Dad something, but don’t want to confront him, I can always tell my Mom who will then tell him. The problem is it’s not something you can control. For example, I may say something perfectly innocuous to one person and it will come back to me in an entirely different version.

Here is just such a story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. The first message is an email I received from my sister a week ago.

Now I know that when you hear about something from a long chain of people the result is not always the same as when it started. So I will just come right out and say what I heard. “J1” told me that she spoke with “T” who spoke with you. You (supposedly) told “T” that …

Then I received an email today saying something similar, but from my mom, referencing what my sister told her. This is the actual first sentence in the email.

“J2” told me that “J1” told her, that “T” told her, that “A” told her, that you told “A” that …”

I laughed and thought, why am I getting a long email about a story that was retold so many times it doesn’t make sense anymore? Why didn’t she just call me and confirm or deny any of this?