When I went to Peabody, I quickly learned about the Peabody Curse – that is, anyone you may be talking about will immediately enter the room while you are doing just that. My friend Sorab adds that the proximity of the person will be in direct proportion to just how badly you are speaking of him or her.
I thought graduating would end the curse. And generally, I don’t talk about people behind their backs, and especially not in public places. The one time that I indulged – well, this is what happened.
Yesterday I had lunch with some dear friends. When I came through the door, I saw a local television personality. I see her so often that I automatically responded as though it was someone I knew well and hadn’t seen for a long time( (plus the person she was waiting for me came in directly behind me so she was waving in my direction) … but before I could say, “Hi! Long time no see!,” I realized who she was and that I actually do not know her personally.
So once we were seated, I told my friends that she was on a show that I watch but that she was not my favorite person on the show. I believe I used the word “twit” to describe my true feelings about her on-air persona. I did look to my left when I said this, because that was the direction people were coming from the bar to be seated in the restaurant. I did not, however, look to my right. And guess where she was? In the booth immediately adjacent to us – on the right. Sorab was right about the proximity element: “twit” = right next to you. If I’d said “moron,” I hate to think of where she would’ve been seated. Probably on my lap.
I don’t know if she heard me but I’m embarrassed. I’m embarrassed not necessarily for my opinion but for my choice of words and because I shouldn’t have been speaking publicly like that. I wasn’t thinking. And if she did hear me, I hate to think that she might have felt bad.
Well, one thing I can say is that she is absolutely beautiful in person and that she was thinner than I thought she’d be.
But I feel terrible and I wish I hadn’t been so snarky.
The Peabody Curse is only effective if you participate. If you are talking about people in a negative fashion, someone will hear you and whether or not it’s the person you’re talking about, it doesn’t cast you in a good light.
So – unnamed TV personality – I apologize profusely for saying what I said. And friends I was with – I apologize for not being the best person I could be for those 3 minutes of blather. I promise to do better.