On his way to visit his dad in Orlando, Jersey Jack Guarnieri wrote this column for our upcoming July magazine. Though it came here too late, its message is never too late or too old. Thanks Jack. Here it is:
The world is a crazy place! I don’t know who said it first, but it’s certainly taken on a different meaning than when I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn.
We’re in the ‘Amusement’ business — some would argue the ‘Entertainment’ business. As such, it’s our happy task to make the world laugh and have some fun, to forget the crazy world for a bit of time, an escape at a low monetary cost. I’m proud of our industry and its people.
I’m writing this as I head to Orlando to visit my Dad who recently turned 90 (and still has all his marbles) in advance of Father’s Day. But right now, Orlando is in the news for tragic events and not for its theme parks. This is a stark reminder of the crazy world we now live in.
Whatever your beliefs, be they political, religious, your sexual preference or what bathroom you want to go to, we need to have a reality check on this planet we call Earth and especially in the United States. We need to respect and accept each other as we are.
All of the heightened political rhetoric for the past year has caused us to think about where we are and where we want to go as a nation.
Waking up, getting through the day and making it back into bed each night is an accomplishment, but we are all called to do more. There can be Peace on Earth, but it starts with each of us in everything we do, every word we say or write, and how we treat each other personally and in our business lives.
None of us are perfect, and I’m certainly not. Each of us is only one person, and it’s natural to ask what we can we really do as ‘just’ one person?
Everything starts with one person. It starts with you. It starts with your decision to do something, or not. You have the power to do and to create, or to destroy and to hate. If you’re fortunate to live in a free country and come and go as you please, then you must work to protect that freedom for the future and the things we take for granted.
I don’t live my life in fear. I work and play and travel, and live each day to the fullest with a smile and a kind word. That’s what is being attacked. Our freedom and our way of life. The violence we see on a screen has once again come home.
What does this have to do with how many tickets to award in the latest game you just bought? It has everything to do with it. Nobody is going to fix all of the problems we have unless you decide to fix them one by one, starting in your own life.
Your vote counts. Your voice counts. Your actions count. Help those around you to take the path of good and stay off the trail of evil. Be part of the solution instead of the problem.
Many of our youth are troubled and without a clear purpose. Give them opportunities and give them your time and talent, your experience and your patience, and your love so they do not embrace hate.
Give them a chance to have what we and our parents had growing up: an opportunity to live and work and play in a country where there is always faith, hope, opportunity and prosperity.
Go make great things happen. You can do it! Get back out in the game of life!