Dave Peyton: ‘My Huntington’ idea isn’t new, but let’s hope it works

July 16, 2018

Sleight of hand.

It’s my favorite kind of magic. Always has been.

To see a magician do magic tricks with cards and coins, particularly coins, while I watch up close is not only delightful but magic.

I’ll never forget a sleight-of-hand magician who was also a comic who performed on a TV show a few years ago.

“Don’t look at this hand,” he said as he lifted his right hand high the air.

“Look at this hand,” as he lifted his left hand in the air.

Then he’d perform his trick with his right hand, the one you weren’t supposed to look at. It was funny and there was much truth to it.

I thought about sleight of hand (in reverse) when “My Huntington,” a campaign to promote the positives of life in Huntington, was launched Monday.

“This is a movement,” Huntington Mayor Steve Williams said. “A movement to encourage individuals to share what they love about Huntington and how Huntington has enriched and enhanced their lives.”

The campaign is the product of several entities, including the city, Marshall University, the America’s Best Communities team, and downtown business owners, who were all separately developing their own promotional movements before merging under the unified “My Huntington.”

Let’s see. Is this the 30th or 40th time Huntington has decided to go positive since I joined The Herald-Dispatch about 50 years ago? I remember sleeping through several meetings where people thought they were coming up with something new but all they were doing was stuffing new wine in old wine skins.

Maybe it will work this time, But it is more likely to work if those who direct the program remember it’s all sleight of hand in reverse.

Huntington isn’t the only community wanting to show it’s good side while hiding its warts and scars, demonstrating the magic in one hand while hiding what’s in the other hand.

Take Myrtle Beach, S.C. for example. That town relies on creating magic to draw tourists.

“Let’s go and unwind, on Myrtle Beach time,” or something like that goes the TV ditty played to lure vacationers.”

That’s the hand you’re supposed to watch, not the other hand which you’ll find on the Internet when you type “Myrtle Beach crime” to find that the town has one of the highest crime rates in America.

A five-minute report on “My Huntington” from the Huntington Police Department has already appeared on “Facebook.” And it focuses on the good things in the city, just as “My Huntington” is supposed to do.

It focuses on two of the best things about Huntington, the police department, and Chief Hank Dial.

There’s no mention of the fact that Charleston, with the same approximate population, has about twice as many police officers and that Huntington’s crime rate is above average, but not as high as the rate in Myrtle Beach, thank goodness.

Except for the horrendous state of Huntington streets (Don’t show that hand), I find Huntington and vicinity a good place to live and, increasingly as an old folk, a good place to die (another hand to hide perhaps.)

I wish the “My Huntington” folks success. But they should remember this is not a new idea, here or elsewhere, and that sleight of hand in reverse is important to the success of this movement.

Dave Peyton is on Facebook. His email address is davepeyton@comcast.net.

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