I’m only caught up on one series this season: Interviews with Monster Girls, or Demi-chan wa Kataritai. I don’t love this series, but it’s easy to watch, and that’s the key to getting me to watch anything lately.
Demi-chan wa Kataritai centers around normal teacher Takahashi Tetsuo and four female demi-humans: a succubus—the only other teacher in the main cast—a vampire, a snow woman, and a dullahan. Many of the conflicts that arise involve normal high school problems, but the girls’ demi-human traits occasionally complicate matters.
In episode 4, “Takahashi Tetsuo Wants to Protect,” the characters address a gossiping problem that began in the previous episode. The shyest member of the cast, snow woman Kusakabe Yuki, overhears two other girls talking about her, claiming she is arrogant because she doesn’t interact much with the others or entertain the interest of a male student. Their gossip doesn’t target her because of her demi-human nature, but that does influence her response. Her demi status makes her more self-conscious, as if teenage girls needed more than the normal human insecurities.
Seemingly unsure where else to go, Yuki seeks out Takahashi. He’s already shown himself as sympathetic to his demi-human students’ struggles. As a result, Takahashi and the succubus teacher discuss how they should address the gossiping problem. Yes, they understand that gossip is normal for teenage girls. But it’s clearly harmful.
Before the teachers have a chance to act, another demi-human student, the vampire Takanashi Hikari, learns about what happened and marches to the bathroom to confront the gossipers.
The other girls are defensive, of course. Among other things, they fall back on, “Everyone does it.” Everyone gossips. The implication is that everyone should thus be willing to both gossip and be the subject of gossip. Hikari won’t have any of that:
In this context, it’s obvious that the excuse is pathetic. It doesn’t matter if everyone gossips. It hurts people. In this episode, Yuki is hurt because she overhears, but such gossip likely hurts her further, as the other girls basically exchange reasons to ostracize her.
The excuse rarely seems so pathetic when we use it ourselves. So I thought I should take this episode as a reminder to stop and consider where I’m using this excuse. The result? Perhaps a more simplistic moral-of-the-story post than you’re used to seeing from me, but something I think is important all the same.
1. “A lot of Christians don’t journal at all, or even read their Bibles daily.”
If you’ve been following my column, you know that I have an ongoing problem when it comes to setting aside devotional time. Sometimes, it’s a struggle. Sometimes, I don’t even struggle anymore. During the times that I’ve given up on regular devotional time, this is the excuse I fall back on. It’s faulty. Comparing my relationship with God to others is not productive, and it certainly doesn’t encourage me to pursue a relationship with him and feel how he pursues a relationship with me. Further, I know that, while some Christians have great prayer lives without journaling, I need that grounding force to keep me focused, to help me articulate my thoughts, and to help me actively listen to what God may bring to mind as I read and process the day’s Bible passage.
I don’t expect myself to become an awesome prayer warrior. But I’m not going to use others as an excuse not to journal.
2. “Everyone slacks off at work.”
It’s tempting to use this excuse at my day job in food service—if “everyone” else is slacking off, standing around and chatting instead of cleaning during slow periods, then maybe it’s fine for me, too. I’ve received enough praise for doing my job that I probably won’t fall prey to this excuse too much in the near future. But I’m not immune to it.
My way of combating this: I remember what Paul said about working for earthly masters as if for the Lord (Colossians 3:23–24).
3. “Everyone gossips at work.”
From a young age, I’ve made a habit of avoiding gossip—at least, compared to others around me (oops, there’s that comparison). But again, I’m not immune to it. When I’m in an environment full of people who seem to bond over talking about others, it’s easy to listen when I probably shouldn’t. If I’m not careful, I’ll start participating—asking questions, making comments. Thankfully, I’m not very social, and I’m generally content to find something to wipe down in another corner of the small restaurant. But I need to remember why I do this, lest I lose motivation: I don’t want my views of others to be colored only by negative things I hear people say. And I don’t want to be tempted to pass on the information I’ve heard (and yes, self, telling Mom about it counts as gossiping).
Why is this important to me? I’m sure there are Bible verses adults quoted to me and my peers about gossip when I was a preteen, but it comes down to love. Gossip isn’t loving. The fact that a lot of people do it doesn’t make it any more loving.
And so on.
I’m sure there are plenty more times in my life that this excuse pops up—they just don’t come immediately to mind. Maybe my conscience will remind me throughout this week. And any rate, when I start to think, “well, everyone does it,” I hope the image of Hikari scolding the gossiping girls comes to mind.