Is Beeman’s Gum Sold Anywhere These Days?

“I trust you”

These three words carry tremendous weight in a relationship between friends, family, loved ones, colleagues and, most importantly, parents to babysitters. Some may even argue these ‘three words’ are on par with the more popular ‘three words.’ In fact, join these six words with an “and” in the middle and that’s a foundation for a successful marriage: “I love you and I trust you.”

Your team is on their opponent’s 13 yard line and are down by 6 points with :03 left and it’s 4th and doesn’t matter. It’s windy and a frigid 41 degrees. The quarterback’s hands are cold and has already thrown two interceptions to his one touchdown in the defensive struggle. Question: Do you trust him?

Married with three kids, two of which are female teenagers. It was a long week of term papers, clothes denied by Dad but approved by Mom, a science project and a missing dog. Friday used to emulate the start of a relaxing and fun weekend, until these ‘kids’ started showing up. Yearning for a night out, the address book of neighborhood babysitters is scrolled through. Why doesn’t one of the teenage girls watch their younger brother? Because they are teenagers and have already grabbed Mom’s car keys and bolted for the mall/friend’s house/party/anywhere but home before the words ‘babysit’ or ‘watch’ leave their parents’ desperate mouths.

A nice girl from two houses down is called for first time duty and, with a handsome tip from Mom without Dad seeing, is there to help wrangle the superhero-dressed, hopped up on fun-sized Nestle Crunch candy bars 7 year-old. Question: Do you trust her? Some will agree and disagree with Jack Burns of Oyster Bay regarding this matter.

There are dozens of examples in our own lives, and movies, that examine a person’s trust (or distrust) towards someone else. Within the past few years, big (and before reliable) institutions have given way to mass criticisms from the public regarding their trustworthiness:

Major universities have failed its local communities and students with publicized athletic scandals.

Big investment banks (Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers) betrayed its clients with intentionally bad and greedy decisions.

Elected officials in the federal government have failed to solve big issue problems without being pushed to the brink (and even then they’re not resolved).

However, before you deem this piece a depressing encapsulation of our increasing lack of trust in big institutions and people in general, perhaps we need to venture back to a major motion picture that rings true with courage and the guts to do something big and right.

One movie that triggers a nostalgic reaction of pride and an ultimate force for good is, “The Rocketeer.” This Disney masterpiece instantaneously brings back memories of transforming an old garage door opener into the clicker that sparked my jet pack when imagining I was ‘the rocketeer’ at the adventurous age of six. Those were the days…

This is a story of Cliff Secord, a stunt pilot, and his older mechanic friend Peevy whose lives are drastically changed when Cliff sits down in the cockpit of an old plane, “The Fearless Freep” and immediately feels pain from something inside Peevy’s duffel bag. What was inside?

The setting is 1938 California on the outskirts of Los Angeles during the era that would eventually define a group of Americans forever known as, “The Greatest Generation.” This major motion picture follows Cliff/”The Rocketeer” as he flies around with his new personal jet pack, modified in ways unique to Peevy (Beeman’s Gum anyone?). The backdrop being that the rocket was a secret experimental invention of Howard Hughes, which was discovered and pursued by a small group of Nazi’s who had infiltrated the United States.

The end of the film showed the incredible bravery of “The Rocketeer” to risk his own life to attempt to save his girlfriend Jenny from a zeppelin and the hands of the iconic Hollywood actor and traitor Neville Sinclair. Sinclair wanted to steal and sell the rocket that would be used to equip the Hitler run army with personal jet packs to assist in global domination.

After prevailing in a death defying battle on top of a flying zeppelin and using quick thinking to peel off a gas covered piece of gum, Cliff/”The Rocketeer” sent Neville Sinclair to his fiery demise that simultaneously explained the origins of the famous “Hollywood” sign. Saved in just the nick of time by Mr. Hughes and Peevy, Cliff and Jenny escape while hanging over the plummeting and ablaze zeppelin.

A great movie with a great story and great characters.

Whether in popular culture or our everyday lives, people continue to surprise us in difficult situations. No matter if the fate of the free world is at stake with a life altering invention or if a couple is trying to determine whether or not the babysitter is reliable and safe, most people are good and are deserving of being given the benefit of the doubt.

In today’s economy, employers are faced with a barrage of resumes and applications for a single job opening. It’s overwhelming on both ends. A conversation with my childhood doctor at a grocery store recently delved into the economic struggles of so many by explaining that her waiter at a restaurant a short while back was a young man who had successfully passed the bar, but had to wait tables because no legal position was available. His law degree earned him a pad and pen, but not for cross examining the witness. Sadly, this is not uncommon today. This is the era we live in, which has unfortunately redefined a portion of the Millenial Generation/Generation Y as the ‘Lost Generation.’

While businesses slowly recover, young men and women who graduated at the worst time(s) in nearly eight decades have been forced to accept lower expectations and smaller dreams while the economy recovers and brightens for future graduates. Being stuck between a rock and hard place is putting it kindly.

While Cliff Secord is a fictional character from a popular 1991 Disney live action movie, his character’s story just may provide the answer for those in the newly defined ‘Lost Generation’: personal belief. Cover letters and resumes are a dime a dozen these days and therefore a new approach must be established. Or in other words, a new trust must be sought.

In most all cases, a job is given when the boss determines he or she can trust you. With such limited openings, this qualification has reached a very difficult level for applicants despite having an impressive educational background and/or degree. The bottle neck for interviews is the narrowest its been in decades. Today, the three words we should be striving for, sans romance, are not, “I trust you,” but instead have to be, “I trust myself.”

Cliff had to trust himself to defy Howard Hughes, the police forces and life threatening danger to do what was right. Seeing Cliff bravely rocket off towards the Nazi zeppelin beside an American flag to save Jenny caused turned-good gang leader Eddie Valentine to say ambitiously, “Go get ’em, kid.”

Imagine if you will that for those in Generation Y: you’re Cliff, the imperfect rocket is your uncertain career path, Jenny is your livelihood and everybody else represents those who will one day watch in amazement at an entire generation’s rediscovered American dreams.

The ‘Lost Generation’ firmly has its back against the wall. Although the call is substantially less than another group of Americans that faced a dark world with depleted opportunity and a grim future, it still demands an equally grand rebuttal.

Drawing inspiration from “The Rocketeer” may seem foolish and childish, but there is a reason why this movie is still popular today with Gen Y kids: people want to believe…they believed then and want to continue to believe today.

For most in the ‘Lost Generation,’ believing better days are ahead is not optional, but necessary. Perhaps one day we’ll get that shiny new plane of our own from somebody who came to trust us because we first trusted ourselves.

The stakes for a sequel have never been higher.

Posted on October 16, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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