Tattle Tales, The Fourteenth Week on the Second Year of The New Abnormal

Janet Zinn
4 min readApr 8
East River Sunrise

I grew up with three siblings. If you grew up with siblings, as I did, you are familiar with the age-old enterprise of tattling. My younger sister, Susan, now Chova Sara, was the tattletale. She was the one that thought it important to report to my parents, usually our mom, whatever misadventures we were enacting. When I was six to her four, she ran to our mom to say I wasn’t letting her play with my Barbies. This was true, but only because she cut their hair and drew on them with crayons. Nonetheless, I had to release more dolls to her based on “fairness.” This made no sense to me, but she got what she wanted, and it spurred her on for years.

When I was fifteen she couldn’t get downstairs fast enough when she rifled through my drawers and found my almost full pack of Eve cigarettes. I was no smoker, but I did purchase a 75 cent pack to try and smoke at high school socials. I, a frizzy haired, acne prone teen with a penchant for musicals, wanted to seem cool. I imagined cigarettes was the entry point. I coughed more than I inhaled, thus ending a two-week foray into the impossible road to being a cool, cigarette-smoking kid. But I kept the pack just in case I could offer an Eve to one of the true cool kids.

Our mom, a former smoker, who coughed if she even thought there was smoke around her, was furious. I was grounded. My explanation had holes. Not only did I own a forbidden pack of cigarettes, but I was going to share an unhealthy habit with someone else. While our mom lambasted me, I got a glimpse of Susan’s righteous smirk. I imagine that same smirk on each of the mouths of all the tattlers online. We have morphed into a culture of telling on others.

When did we learn that telling on others was a better strategy than speaking in a respectful manner…

Janet Zinn

NYC Psychotherapist, writer, wife, mother, & more...