Gossip and grenades

I based a character in my book Blackwatertown on a friend I used to work with. Actually, that’s not quite accurate. I just used his name and nickname. But Tom (who becomes Tomas) Greenard is now far away in Australia, so he is at my mercy.

His nickname was Tom Grenade. I never did find out why.

Tom, you’ll be pleased to hear that your alter ego lives up to your nickname in the book. Though I cannot promise that he survives to feature in the sequel.

Tom – in Australia sends this uplifting story:


Keep this in mind the next time you are about to repeat a rumour or spread gossip.In ancient Greece (469 – 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.

One day an acquaintance ran up to him excitedly and said, “Socrates, do you know what I just heard about Diogenes?”

“Wait a moment,” Socrates replied, “Before you tell me I’d like you to pass a little test.  It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”

‘Triple filter?” asked the acquaintance.

“That’s right,” Socrates continued, “Before you talk to me about Diogenes let’s take a moment to filter what you’re going to say.  The first filter is Truth.  Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

“No,” the man said, “Actually I just heard about it.”

“All right,” said Socrates, “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not.  Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness.  Is what you are about to tell me about Diogenes something good?”

“No, on the contrary…”

“So,” Socrates continued, “You want to tell me something about Diogenes that may be bad, even though you’re not certain it’s true?”

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.  Socrates continued, “You may still pass the test though, because there is a third filter, the filter of Usefulness.   Is what you want to tell me about Diogenes going to be useful to me?”

“No, not really.”

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “If what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me or anyone at all?”

The man was bewildered and ashamed.   This is an example of why Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.

It also explains why Socrates never found out that Diogenes was shagging his wife.

Meanwhile, here’s some lively music from Janelle Monáe – Tightrope – performed on the Late Show with David Letterman. (Spotted on Why, That’s Delightful!) She has crazy feet.



Filed under friends, history, Music, My Writing

11 responses to “Gossip and grenades

  1. And Also Why we Dont Know Mrs Socrates’s first name?

  2. I might turn to Diogenes if my husband were up all day and night talking with men instead of giving me a little love and attention. Socrates is a prime example of winning the whole world but losing his soul mate. The Socratic method failed to save his marriage and in his ability to use ratiocination beyond measure, he avoided that which he already knew or he would not have such well laid out questions at hand.

    The music is superb. Very good in fact. I have never seen somone wear their hair like a hat before, though! And she does have wonderfully crazy feet. She will be going places.

  3. Haha a well ignorance is bliss sometimes. I thought Socrates preferred little boys actually. Great clip, awesome shoes and even a ninja changing her jacket . . i want my own ninja. Thanks for the congrats. I’ve given up commenting on my own site but if you link your email, I’ll respond there. Cheers 🙂

  4. Socrates was obviously not a fan of the National Enquirer! haha

  5. haha. nice…cool about your book…and funny socrates story…

  6. Just added this to my Bastille Day Post. Here it is for all of you to enjoy:

  7. Poor old So-crates…

    May I add, speaking as someone who bases 90% of his characters on friends/relatives/acquaintances, that you’re a braver man than I to make this Tom aware of it. I live in constant fear of the above friends/relatives/acquaintances finding out about their fictional counterparts.

  8. Loved the Socrates story!

    Ok ~ This Janelle chick… damn! What a voice! And where did she see me dancing? Cause she ripped off all my moves! Thanks for sharing, I loved it and am forwarding it. Sweet.

    Have you read “The Happiness Hypothesis” by. Jonathan Haidt yet?

    • blackwatertown

      Not yet read The Happiness Hypothesis. OK, I admit I hadn’t heard of it till you told me about it. Looks interesting though.

  9. Hahahaha oh, Socrates. XD Cool story.

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