Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Voices of two silhouetted figures down a corridor are faintly heard.

Taller: There was a rumor, don't know how true it is, think I read it in Forbes, that Steve has pancreatic cancer.

Shorter: No! He still bounces on stage and does his rock star thing launching new products.

Taller: Some say he hasn't been looking well but the PR division keeps saying he's fine.

Shorter: If it were true, and it's a big if, since people that rich have access to the best medical resources, and he, let's say, withdrew from the company, think what it'd do to the stock value.

Taller: It's all just conjecture. What would happen if word got around that you had something like that?

Shorter: I'd be fired and the company stock would rise.

People hedge more when reporting a rumor. Qualifying phrases like "...don't know how true it is..." "...it's a big if..." protect the speaker from being scoffed at or even challenged with a supplementary rumor. And the future however it may turn out.

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