Jersey Jack – November 2022

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The Gift of Being Present in Your Life

by Jack Guarnieri, Jersey Jack Pinball & PinballSales.com

Like most of you, I would guess, I love technology. I love the new gadgets and electronics and at the same time, I feel fortunate to have grown up in a day without social media and cell phones.

So often at restaurants or public gatherings, everyone seems to be on their mobile devices, typically communicating with people who aren’t there while ignoring the people who are.

I’ll be honest…I’m guilty. I’ve done it, too. I do try to be more mindful about it, but it’s hard! I’m not sure if its FOMO, the fear of missing out, or just what it is.

My wife Joanne and I recently traveled to Italy and it was so beautiful and wonderful. I probably took 1,000 pictures and maybe 900 of them were of food! (Not really, but I’ll bet it was close!) I was careful not to be rude or too obvious.

Wherever we visited, we met many wonderful people. Joanne talks to everyone, as do I, so it comes natural for us to be somewhere and in a few minutes, have some new “friends.” My children, Jen and Jack, always say, “Mom, you talk to everyone.” And as for me, well, that’s what I do.

Jack and Jerry from Capri

Jersey Jack and his new BFF, Jerry from Capri.

So, there I was in beautiful Capri, waiting to board the ferry back to Positano when an old sea-worn gentleman’s eyes met mine. He was sitting on a low piling on the pier about 10 feet away. He smiled and waved his arm as if to say “What are you gonna do?” about the waiting. Being from Brooklyn, I understand arm signals, even the international kind.

I walked a few feet over to him, not sure if he even spoke English and asked him, “Come ti chiami?” (What’s your name?) He replied in a thick Italian accent that it was Jerry. I asked him if we could take a selfie together and as he took his fishing cap off, he said, “Sure! One day this picture will be worth money!” I laughed.

In our conversation, I learned that he’d lived in Capri his whole life but that his wife was from Connecticut. Sadly, she passed away four years ago and as he lowered his head, he told me that he was still heartbroken. I patted his chest over his heart and told him that as long as his wife is in his heart he can never lose her. He smiled, stood up, gave me a hug and then I was on my way. I have no clue why people are put where, when or how, but I have a very strong faith and believe it’s for a reason, even if that’s not immediately clear.

In this case, the technology I had – my beloved iPhone – connected me to Jerry in an old-world town. I’m not sure who said it but, “Living in the moment is a gift. That’s why it’s called the ‘present.’”

Look around and be present in what you are doing and who you share your time with. And to my new friend Jerry in Capri, I doubt you get RePlay, but that picture we took is now priceless to me. Grazie!


Jack Guarnieri started servicing electro-mechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He was an operator in NYC, then began a distributorship in 1999, PinballSales.com, selling coin-op to the consumer market. In January of 2011, he founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which builds award-winning, full-featured, coin-op pinball machines. Email Jack at [email protected] jerseyjackpinball.com.

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