Sunday, 5 December 2010

Neighbourly wikileaks

I know a fellow who, when his family decided on a new home in a lovely neighbourhood, made an off-hand comment about the neighbouring beautifully kept, immaculate home. It was decorated for the upcoming holiday season with care, and well ahead of any other house in the neighbourhood.

"I like the house," he said to his wife and the real-estate agent, "but I'm not sure I want to live next to the Griswolds." he joked, referring to the movie National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and the bumbling Chevy Chase main character, who overdecorates his house for Christmas.

The name stuck. After they moved in, and even after they met the wonderful people next door, his entire family referred to their neighbours as the Griswolds. It became so natural that they actually couldn't remember if they'd ever know their real family name. It was just "Mr. or Mrs. Griswold this, the Griswolds that..." It was never meant as an insult or slight, it just was.

One day the man called his kids and wife together and cautioned them. "We've become so used to referring to our neighbours as "the Griswolds" that we've come to believe this is their real name. We all agree they are the best neighbours anyone could ever hope for, so kind and thougtful and welcoming and generous, quiet and clean...if they ever heard us call them by their nickname, they'd be very hurt. Even though we meant no harm, it would be very hurtful to them and to our friendship. It has to end."

And so it ended. They never used that nickname again. And it was over, until Wikileaks. Well, not so much a wikileak as a gossipy neighbour to whom they had accidentally revealed the story. He spread the story because...well because he could, I guess.

But so no one paid any attention, no one cared. It was the real relationship between the neighbours that mattered, not the stuff that got said about each other behind closed doors. In short time, the whole thing blew over and life went on as usual in the neighbourhood, and the family went through their lives never knowing what nickname the "Griswolds" had given them.

1 comment:

  1. Nice Story! It is something that can happen all too often. Fortunately a friendship came out of it...there are many families in which the wiki-leak happens and the rifts remain forever. If only....
    Great Blog!