His Balls and His Word – 10 March 2014
I suppose it’s time to let you people in on the plan, the scheme, the plot—I’m spending Spring Break in The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Like, next week Spring Break.
And, though it may appear to be otherwise, this isn’t some random lark I’ve chosen to undertake—far from it. This is the result of a promise I made almost a year ago, a promise I made to someone very important to me, and a promise I intend to fulfill.
But still, it’s effin’ London town, man. To say I’m excited is an understatement of epic proportions.
But the reasoning behind this post isn’t to expound on the bangin’ ass time I’ll have in the UK; there’ll be posts aplenty for that. No, this time I’m thinking of what promises actually are, and what they really mean.
Where I come from, we have a saying: A man’s only as good as his balls and his word. It’s a tenet I live by, as should we all—-you make a promise, you stick to it. But like so many others the possibility of the empty promise seems to make people so uncomfortable with the whole concept and prospect of oath-making. And, again like so many others, I’ve made more than enough of those in my life.
Language is the primary vehicle through which we communicate or thoughts, our feelings, our wants, desires, and grievances. Words themselves mean nothing (subjectively they mean nothing) until we give them agency, a voice—then they become something much more concrete and real, for better and for worse. We forget this. And it’s when you unthinkingly offer something of yourself to another with the intent of making good on a promise you made that the brambles get thicker, and it isn’t a simple matter of rolling down your pant legs and slogging.
Promises aren’t beholden to the same restrictions under which we live our fast-paced, coffee-driven, distraction-filled existences; once something has been said, heard, and processed by the brain it can’t be taken back, no matter how many times one states the contrary. And it’s more than just thinking before you speak, too. Every situation is different, and gauging one from another is a notoriously pointless task—put simply, you’d make promises to your mother that you wouldn’t make to your best buddy and vice versa, and these differing relational dynamics determine how likely you are to keep that half-assed promise you made.
So there’s that.