Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Random memory

family I had a really wonderful childhood, for the most part, in large part because my brothers and I got on so well. But we had our share of arguments, fights, and tiffs. Especially when it came to really important issues, like who had taped the cups together in the kitchen. We just didn’t trust each other. The binding words had to be said… “I promise.” It began to happen that we promised left and right.

“Kai, did you forget to turn off the computer?”

“No, I didn’t!”

“Do you promise?”

“Yes! I promise.”

“Regan, did you just hit Jack? He’s crying.”


“Do you promise?”

“Yes, I promise.”

Finally, it got out of hand. That’s when my parents outlawed promising. It became a banned word in the household.

That’s when we turned to guaranteeing.

“Kalli, do you guarantee that you didn’t erase my game on Wizardry?”

“No I didn’t do it.”

“But do you guarantee it??”

But as the word guarantee began to lose its power due to too frequent use, we began double guaranteeing and triple guaranteeing. Really I grew up in an environment of deep mistrust. I’m not sure how I’ve ever been able to learn to communicate with others after that.

But there was one handy trick that came out of all of this that Kai taught me. One time I demanded on his word that he hadn’t participated in something. “Do you promise????” I said.

Kai, who had been in tears from the fight, said…

“I promi.”

Thinking that he had left off the “se” because of his emotional distress, I let him go, only to learn later that he had escaped punishment by not completely saying the word.

Let that be a lesson to all of us. If someone asks us to promise something, there is a way to avoid it. And that is to say,

“I promi.”

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