This I Believe

Leah - Oceanside, California
Entered on May 31, 2007

I believe in keeping pinky promises. On day one of its integration into my life as a young kindergartener, I learned the sacred principles of the pinky promise and the rules that say you would readily submit to death if you break it. Somewhere in between then and now, my final year of high school, this small exchange has lost the power and significance it used to hold in all of us.

If anything, my years in high school have led me toward the path of cynicism. Daily, I encounter “best friends” turned sworn enemies and “true romance” turned sobbing heartbreak. As I grow into adulthood, I witness the act of confirming appointments only to cancel them, all because it cannot fit the perfect picture for the day. It’s rare to see that a word, any spoken word no matter what the size, will be followed through with. “We’ll be friends forever”? “Let’s do lunch”? Probably not.

It’s surprising that a so-called “civilized” society such as our own holds so much value in a flimsy piece of a tree we killed, as opposed to the words spoken out of a person’s mouth. A gradual change occurs; we keep our word until we learn not to. Our loyalty ends with the learning of another secret ritual: the crossing of two fingers that automatically eliminates you from the rules of the pinky promise.

The fast-pace of the world today is evident, even in a small but overpopulated high school in an un-map-worthy town. As we push our way to the top (as we are encouraged to do), we steadily forget others around us. “Let’s do lunch” is cancelled 3 hours before because of the last-minute work we couldn’t finish, or the club we have to run. And slowly, we become adults because we forget the power of keeping that childlike promise, that play date: the words that come out of our mouth. Why don’t we seal every statement with a pinky promise? Because we don’t have the time, and we’d break it, anyhow.

Our loyalty bravely stepped forward with the first intertwining of little fingers that, at some point, we all experienced. What better way to show our continued loyalty than by backing up words with actions and by adhering to the statements we make day to day? Words come cheaper than plastic rings at Boomers, and thus, our fidelity is only proven by what we can adhere to.

So, I’ll be there for lunch at 12. I pinky promise.