It began with a glance. I was walking out of Barnes & Noble on a warm May afternoon when I spotted him, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, or, shall I say, his four-disc audio book, The Power of Positive Thinking, perched on the “bargain buys” table in the foyer. At that time, I was unaware that Dr. Norman Vincent Peale had been an evangelist and close friend to Richard Nixon and Billy Graham and enemy of my hero, John F. Kennedy. I didn’t know he’d coined the expression “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” I only knew that I’d been feeling a bit blue lately, and who couldn’t benefit from some positive thinking? I paid for the boxed set with the last 15 dollars in my wallet.
Five minutes into the first disc, and he had me. I credit his preacher’s meter, the way he punched the hell out of his iambs, his words bypassing my frontal lobe, whispering to my lower brain stem, and then traveling deeper, deeper down to my soul.