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Marek’s Mind: putting life in perspective

Candles are lit at a memorial near Sandy Hook Elementary School. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT)

I love where I work.

I love being a busboy at Lou Malnati’s, a top-tier pizza place, not because of the employee meals or the pay.

I love being a busboy because of my coworkers, who are the most genuinely kind people I’ve met in my life.

Last Friday, one of them taught me a little bit about myself.

It was about 4 p.m. when I was talking to John Partynski, a dutiful server, in our “silo” server station.

“I want to go home already,” I told him, worn-out from being on my feet throughout a routine school day and a lackluster shift.

I continued telling him about how I had my fair share of homework to do that weekend, and how it’d be nice to just leave work and decompress with some Madden ’13.

Now, about an hour before that conversation with John, I arrived at work.  When I got out of my car in the parking lot, one of the guys from the kitchen who calls me “Polak-o!” was entering his car.  In a hushed, somber tone, he asked me if I knew what state the shootings were in.  I told him I didn’t know what he was talking about, since I wasn’t following media during the school day.  After asking some servers about what happened, I learned that 20 schoolchildren and seven adults were massacred by a shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.

After I complained during that conversation I had with John, he paused and responded with the same soft tone that the kitchen guy had.

“You know, the shooting today really opened my eyes,” he told me with a grin on his face.

“Are you messing with me, or are you being serious?” I asked, as the grin threw me off.

“No, I’m being completely serious.  I don’t have any plans for tonight. I’ve got nothing going on.  The shooting put things in perspective for me.  I’m laid back.”

Soon I realized that his grin was from the priceless realization of a valuable lesson.

Sometimes there are very bad things that happen in people’s lives, and no matter how much you fret over things, you might realize that what you have isn’t that bad after all, and that it doesn’t hurt to appreciate it.

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Marek Makowski, Author

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