Both of us pray for one another, and after chapel services, we would ask to each other if there is any prayer requests. One day, I had a problem with one of my school assignments and I asked him to pray that I will complete it on time. He told me of his muddle, and both of us agreed to pray on them. "Is it a deal?" I asked. "It is a deal," he responded, and put out his hand. I said to him, "When I go into these things, I always do this-" and I stuck out my pinkie and he followed suit. Even though my friend left to pastor his church full-time, to this day, when we give our best regards ("73" for us hams), we link and give God's blessings.
What was once a juvenile gesture is now beginning to become commonplace amongst adults. Let me share a bit of history of the pinkie, courtesy of The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren by Iona and Peter Opie (Oxford University Press, 1959):
The word pinkie comes from the Dutch word meaning "little" and was imported to America during the 18th Century (that's when New York was New Amsterdam). The name got stuck when kids interlock their little fingers as a oath.
The use of the pinkie oath is historical as well- Shakespeare had one of the characters invoke the oath in Henry IV (II.iii, Lady Percy's threat) and even women in Asia Minor (that's ancient for me) were known to link pinkies. In Great Britain, it sometimes is known as "touching wood and whistle," "eeks" ("eeksie-peeksie" in Scotland), or "pinkie-swear." A pinkie oath can signify misfortune if broken.
Pinkies were even involved in the rococo times of France, the age of the Sun King, when a nobleman would grow his pinkie nail long enough to scratch a door (instead of knocking because knocking was considered rude and common for the nobles). This little but significant finger is important for holding objects (do you imagine holding a remote control or a pencil without your pinkie?).
I have another story about pinkie-linking, this time it is also a cute Circle K story: Our group went to the 1998 Cal-Nev-Ha District Convention in Woodland Hills, CA and there was an opening session with all of us college students making noise (as always) with the Kiwanis officers. After the session, the Kiwanians would mingle and say hi with all of us. One of them was Reid Allen, the District Governor for Kiwanis at that time, and he is outgoing and warm. (A "peachy keen jellybean" as I called him.) When it was my turn to meet Reid and his wife Kathy (bless her soul), he gave me a big hug. I love hugs, so I asked him: "Are you a hugger?" He said "Yes," and I responded with "God bless you! So am I!" and we hugged again. Kathy hugged me too and everything was so kewl. I asked him if he links pinkies, and we both did. For the rest of the convention, whether we saw one another, we hugged and linked pinkies.
My point is this: people should link pinkies more often regardless of standing, and even though a pinkie shake would not replace a handshake, it is fun to do. You don't even have to make a oath or a promise to link pinkies- you can wish somebody good luck, say a blessing (or a prayer- I did that once after I give my buddy a blessing), or just greet a buddy with a pinkie link. The pinkie is not just for kids; it's for us, also.
The Royal Order of the Pinkie Linker
This is my contribution to the promotion of pinkie linking. This organization is non-profit and there's no dues...the only requirement for anyone to join is regular practicing of pinkie linking. E-mail me about your intention to join and we'll place you in the roster. Meanwhile, stick any of these pretty membership affiliation logos and make a link to this page. If possible, mention in your page about pinkie linking.
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