Is there anyone reading this who remembers the old Irving Kaye Company and the Kaye family who ran it? They were among the early makers of coin-operated 6-pocket pool tables, first at a factory in Brooklyn, and later in Stamford, Conn. Their sales manager Howard Kaye went on to create a company called Designs for Leisure when they closed the place, and was successful making custom pool tables for the home decorator set.
Howie was a fun guy, one of those “pushy” salesmen who sort of define the New York personality. We once got into a discussion about what “being happy” really meant and how you go about getting it. Howie’s definition of “happy” was having a pleasant life punctuated now and then by fun, even euphoric events (like charging down a steep slope on skis, which was his passion). Me? I subscribed to the theory that happiness is more likely the absence of pain.
The time came when this magazine published an anniversary salute to the Kaye Company, which, like most of the “specials” RePlay has produced over the years, came out pretty nice, I’m proud to say. Howie called me when he got his copy and said: “I’ve just experienced a great absence of pain!” I smiled at the compliment, and later realized there’s more to being happy than simply avoiding pain. I felt good that a friend and customer said that my company had done something really nice for his.
Psychologists will tell you there’s a percentage of the population suffering from “low self-esteem.” What sounds at first like BS is actually a sad condition that makes some people actually loath themselves. The shrinks know there’s no easy way to fix this, but there is an “aspirin” which goes like this: “If you want to improve your sense of self worth, then go out there and do worthy things.” In other words, if you want to be happy, maybe making other people feel good about themselves is the way in.
You see where I’m going with this? Correct. Entertaining the public is a worthy way to make a living. How cool is it when you consider you can put food on the table by putting a smile on a kid’s face who just won a squishy on a crane or a yard of tickets from some target game! How truly great is it to win a trophy and a check by putting your dart or pool shooting skills to the test in a tournament? And, how much self-esteem can you pile on when you present your date with the giant panda you won on a midway game?
Feel good. Running a quality, fair-play game center or route operation is a really worthy thing to do.
–– Eddie Adlum