Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When the 11:14 Bites you in the Ass

Peace Family.

“Have you not heard that your word is bond regardless of whom or what?”

This portion of the 11:14 gets quoted by every G and E I know when they get mad at
folks for bailing last minute. It’s not peculiar to citizens of Allah’ s 5% NGE, lots of people have this rule. My parents impressed upon me the importance of keeping my word in very different ways.

My father implicitly always did what he said he would do. At least to me. He told me that all a man had was his word. And if I couldn’t keep my word, then I shouldn’t give it. I would tease him and say, “ I’ m not a man.” I knew what he meant. He also said that no one would ever take you serious if you got the reputation for being flaky. He did what he said he was gonna do. Not always the way you expect but always done. My mother and brother hated that I could get things from my Daddy. That was because I trusted him to keep his word and I gave him time to consider my request. They would ask for somethingat the last minute and demand he act. Oh he would act, all right. Just not in their favor. If there was a time frame on the request, they would nag the hell out of him and expect him to bless them without any information. I have seen him ache, because he wanted to grant their requests but they forced him to say no, and he couldn’ t go back on his word. When I wanted something, I would approach him in a business-like fashion and present my desire with corroborating information. Then I would insist he think about it. Give him time to do the Knowledge. Should he allow time to lapse or forget about me, he would always
give me what I asked for by default.

Mommie on the other hand, would promise all manner of stuff. And renege every time.
She would then laugh in your face and call her friends and tell them how she got over on you. The occasion (of many) I always remember is as follows… She promised me a trip to Childworld on a Wednesday if I would do something for her. I don’ t even remember what the something was. All I remember is I got cheated. It wasn’ t something I had to do. If it had been, she would have just forced me to do it. Had she forced me to do it, I would have purposefully fucked it up and then she would have been publicly embarrassed. I can take a rote ass-whipping. She promised that we could go to Childworld on Wednesdayand I could stay in there and play with the toys for 1 hour. I did what she asked. When Wednesday came, I got ready for my hour. She smiled and said, “I didn’t say which Wednesday.” I asked every week for the next 2 months until she said she never had any intention of every taking me to Childworld. She kept that promise. Loaning her money means you won’ t get it back no matter what she says. I’ m not trying to slam my mother. I’ m just saying you cannot believe what she tells you. I have seen her make promises she had no intention of keeping and spread malicious gossip she knows isn’t true. And she doesn’t care.

So where do I fall in the 11:14 degree? Close to the 100% but not quite. I am NOT my
mother. I don’ t tell lies and I abhor gossip. I always try to keep my word exactly. That’s not so easy to do. I manage 90% of the time. But that 10% just kills me. It’ s like belief and face value. We say we don’ t deal in “ belief” but we do to a point. Expectations equal belief. You expect to get paid on pay day. You don’ t know that will happen. You expect the bus to arrive at a certain time. You don’ t know, but you still go out there and wait.

When someone tells you something, we know that we are supposed to double check the
information, but often times we don’ t. You’ re lost and you ask a stranger for directions and he gives it to you. Are you going to ask 2 more strangers or are you going to followthe directions? So we do, in fact, don’ t always do what we say.

I remember in grad school, a friend of mine asked me to help her move. I hate moving.
Seriously. But she was a good friend and needed my assistance. I said I would do it.
2 days later a different friend of mine acquired tickets to see at the time, The ArtistFormerly Known as Prince. They would have been free to me. But it was the same dayand same time I promised old girl I was going to help her move. I couldn’ t go. I didn’t even tell her, because I knew she would let me off the hook. She needed me and I didn’t want to manipulate her like that. She played a simulcast of the concert the entire time I was helping her. I wept.

Last month, my co-worker asked me to come in early on a day I could have come in
anytime because she wanted to get there early. I agreed and did what she asked. She
came in late and never called to tell me her plans changed. She said since I was coming in she didn’ t see the need to call. What she didn’ t know was another friend asked me if he could take me to breakfast to pay me back for always driving him around. I said no, because I had to meet the coworker. I also left the door open, which I don’t usually do when the office isn’t open to the public. I have to explain to everyone who comes in that we aren’ t open for business. Folks get testy. I normally don’t have to deal with walk ins like that, simply because I keep the door locked. So this woman changing her plans and not telling me royally screwed up my day. All she said was “ I didn’ t know.” I’ ve noticed I have since, stopped listening to her complaints about life. Somehow, I now suspect her problems come from her inability to keep her word.

Not keeping your word is so easy to do. There are so many ways to screw it up. Every
time you sign a credit card receipt you promise to pay the bill. Every utility you get you agree to pay the bill on time! Every student loan promissory note you sign, you agree to pay it back. Every time you give an opinion on something, you are expected to tell the truth. Your Earth spends 2 days cooking a special meal for you and it’ s nasty. What do you say? Are you going to be brutally honest or are you going to let it slide? What about promptness? Are you ever late for appointments, work or rallies? Ever left anyone hanging? Claimed someone you shouldn’ t have on your taxes. Told someone you moved somewhere later than you actually did? Not paid back someone you owe money too exactly how you promised you would? Cheated on a diet? Not prepared a meal you said you would? Not finished a project that you promised to? The degree says regardless of whom or what.

I know. It’ s a hard call. And these small things take their toll. I struggle with it every day. Folks want to force you into a corner. And I get why. People (me included) are uncomfortable with indecisiveness. When I need to know something, I can push. And folks aren’ t the most honest regarding their intentions. But this ain’ t about other folks. It’ s about me. That’ s what y’ all should be thinking. “ It’ s about me” meaning you and how true you are to your word.

So those of y’ all that are reading this... If I say I will do something, I will. If I don’t,check the hospitals, prisons and morgues. Because something humongous has happened. If I say I’ m not doing something, don’ t look for me to do it; even if I want to later. If I said I didn’ t do it, I didn’ t do it. If I refuse to answer, I probably did it. I need for people in my cipher to know they can trust me. I’ m a decent person. And I expect the same from people around me.

“Yes. My word is bond, and my bond is life. And I will give my life before my word
shall fail.”



c said...


My people would say to me all the time, 'all you have is your word'. Be flat broke, if your word
good though it's like having a million dollars in the bank. People respect you more. We hurt ourselves and others when we're not true to our word. Imagine not staying away from fried foods with hypertension, cee the damage it'd cause? If we'd just be more cognizant of what we promise to ourselves and those we love, we'd be okay.