Growing up in the Bronx in the 1950s I was still in my single digits. Television was in its infancy. Our first t.v. had a three inch screen, and later we graduated to a thirteen inch set, both black and white. One of my favorite shows in those early days was Peter Pan starring Mary Martin, a story about the innocence of childhood and the desire to never grow up. The show was a live production staged without a studio audience, although it attracted 65 million viewers, a record for its time. I saw it several times over the decade before it disappeared for unknown reasons.
In 1989 the show returned to television. It immediately took me back to my childhood love of the show. There was one scene that particularly grabbed me. It was the moment that Peter was about to drink the poison when Tinkerbell swooped in and quickly gulped it down to spare Peter’s life. Her light began to flicker signaling the mortal danger she placed herself in. Peter turned to the camera, broke through the fourth wall and asked the audience:
“Do you believe in fairies? Oh, please, please believe! And wherever you are, clap your hands.”
As a kid I clapped my hands so hard I thought I might take off like a butterfly. As an adult, however, I was caught by the words, “Do you believe…” It gave me pause to consider what is it that I believed. Shortly thereafter I sat down and wrote the following (written 33 years ago), which I recently found:
– George Steinbrenner screwed up the Yankees
– Elvis does not live in Wisconsin
– Greater downtown Buffalo is really an oxymoron
– George Washington told a little white lie…
….and Richard Nixon told a big black one.
– The moon isn’t made of cheese
– The world is round (except from Tulsa to Dallas)
– Spauldeens bounce higher than Pensy Pinkies
– And if it itches, scratch it.
– Barbara Streisand has an extraordinary voice
– Cher doesn’t (but I like her anyway)
– Sammy Davis Jr. was a gifted entertainer
– Roger Maris always belonged in the Hall of Fame (without an asterisk)…
…and that Gil Hodges and Phil Rizzuto belong there, too…
…and until Pete Rose acknowledges he has a problem, he doesn’t.
– Nacho Cheese Flavored Doritos
– Entenmann’s Crumb Cake
– Breyers Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
are all candidates for the junk food Hall of Fame.
– Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise
– Goulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard
are candidates for the condiment Hall of Fame.
– my heart beat rapidly at age 9 for Natalie Wood when she appeared in West Side Story
– and that my heart still beats rapidly for my wife, lover and best friend.
– in rainbows
– moon drops
– and twinkling stars
– that leaves fall in autumn, but will grow back in the spring…
…and people, like dandelions, will grow back after stepping on them.
I would like to meet the Maker of Dew, the Inventor of Rain.
– creepy, crawly caterpillars turn into beautiful butterflies
– that every snowflake is beautiful and unique
and that every person born into this world is equally beautiful and unique.
– that children believe in
- Santa Claus
- Tooth fairies
- Easter bunnies
- And monster under the bed
…and I believe in children
…and I believe in fairies (clap, clap).
– there is no smell so fresh as a forest after a rainstorm
(except maybe a baby after a bath)
– the banana is unique in color, shape, texture, and taste
– nothing grows faster than corn (except 14 year old boys).
– people of color have less opportunities
– Martin Luther King Jr. was an extraordinary person
and a loving witness to peaceful co-existence.
– the world is filled with limitless opportunities
and that there is unlimited potential in each of us.
– strategic plans and business projections don’t excite me as much in my 30’s and they did in my 20’s
– that there is massive alienation and estrangement in the work force
– and that people at work desire, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth, and that without it the soul dies.
– I believe my parents were both alcoholics
and that they would have loved me if they could.
– that smoke is offensive, even though I smoked for over 20 years
– and that booze will kill you just as surely as it killed my mother and father
and destroyed my family.
– death, isolation, and loneliness hurt.
I believe in Love
and that Love conquers all things.
– in God
– in God’s unconditional love and forgiveness
– in angels and miracles and the power of prayer
– and that we can know God through the love of each other.
Most of all I believe in you, and I believe in me.
In an interview with Joseph Campbell in the late 1980’s Bill Moyers asked: “Joe, do you have faith?” to which he answered, “Faith? No, I don’t have faith. I have experience.”
“Oh, do you believe….?” Clap your hands.
“Oh, please, please believe! And wherever you are, clap your hands.”Peter Pan
Keith Darcy is President of Darcy Partners Inc., a boutique consulting firm that works with boards and top executives on a wide variety of complex governance, ethics, compliance, and reputation risk challenges. Website: Darcy.Partners