Omerta: The Laws of Silence

It all comes down to one word: Omerta. The law of silence. Never, and I mean never, discuss family business with ears that shouldn't be hearing what you have to say. No one likes a rat, unless it's a dead rat; and a dead rat leaves a stench. So here are the options: either you are a man of respect, a rat, or a dead rat. Which would one would you "ham-n-eggers" rather be? A man of respect of course. If not, kindly proceed by jumping off the nearest skyscraper and do the world a favor. We don't like wasting bullets.

Now, opening your big yapper is not always a bad thing. No one likes a loudmouth, but as long as it stays within the famiglia, it usually won't hurt the family. Now, by family I don't mean your actual family, but rather your business, your social club, etc. Suppose you are the CEO of a business. Revenues are strong, profit margins are nice and fat, cash flow is increasing... you get the picture. Then one night, while at a dinner party, after a few too many glasses of Chianti you decide it is time to open your big mouth and start talking trash about one of your customers. No big deal, you figure, it's all in good fun, some harmless gossip. Besides, he'll never find out. Little do you realize that the walls have ears and that so-and-so at the table knows Mr. You-Shouldn't-Have-Badmouthed-Him.

Next thing you know, that big customer of yours that is paying for your Lexus and that house in the Hamptons just cancelled all business dealings with you. Meanwhile, you wonder what happened, like the schmuck that you are. I'll tell you what happened, so sit down and listen Johnny boy: You insulted the man and he took his business elsewhere. You publicly broadcast issues that should have been settled man-to-man.

Perhaps you started a rumor he didn't want anyone to know about. Would you want your wife finding out about that 21 year-old stripper with implants you've been seeing after hours? In fact, you might have a few skeletons of your own in your closet. How would you like it if others reciprocated and started shooting their mouths-off? Exactly. So my advice to you is keep your mouth shut, mind your business and pretend you don't know what's going on if you are in a bind. No point in being on the receiving end of some flying canoli when you could be enjoying a good laugh with everyone else.

One last thing while I'm on the subject (it's not like anyone is going to stop me!), all you need to do is open your mouth once at the wrong time and you will have a reputation that will stick for life. No one wants to be known as "that rat Pasquale" from the East side. People will not associate with you for business, or pleasure. In fact, if you open your mouth about the wrong thing to the wrong people, they might try to disassociate you... from your head. So keep your mouth shut, continue doing business and keep your friends.

So there you have it boys, it all boils down to one word: Omerta. Think you "ham-n-eggers" can remember that? For your own sakes, I should hope so. Watch your back boys, keep your noses clean....and remember, "think long and hard" my friends!