I was born in Scranton. I lived in State College during 2 1/2 of my four college years at Penn State with my summers spent at home. It seemed like a no-brainer that I would return home after I graduated May of 1993. Throughout the years I have wondered if perhaps I should have ventured elsewhere to gain a new perspective but for the most part, I've been glad that I returned home and stayed. I am close to my family and enjoy spending time with my parents (I know that not everyone likes to be that close to family but we somehow manage to not kill one another). I can remember people at Penn State occasionally (well maybe more than occasionally) mocking Scranton and I, of course, would rush to defend it. It is my home after all. People would make comments about Scranton being the "armpit" of the country or a joke. And in most instances these people formed their well-developed opinion after having stopped for gas on their way to upstate New York or having pulled into a McDonald's at midnight after a concert. I would always become angry when they would say negative things about Scranton. What can I say? It's my home ... and I like it!

For me, what's even harder to hear are negative comments by people who live here, and many who have for some time. (I wonder if they are trapped like genies in a bottle. Why else would a human beings put themselves through what they seem to describe as such hell? Yes I'm being sarcastic but I find it funny in an ironic sense, not a ha ha ha, knee-slapping sense, that they seem to find no value in a place they choose to call home or rather, a city they are not motivated enough to leave.) I used to get really angry about these people and comments too. I am still bothered but I'm working my way away from anger (for so many reasons, as part of my own personal growth). I realize now that I don't have to get angry and defend the city because people who complain chronically or who hate the city in which they live are sending a much louder message about themselves. So I am working at not being angry or defensive but instead, want to remind people (or make them aware for the first time) about the things that I like about the city I choose to live in.  When people say there is nothing to do here it tends to get on my last nerve and I always counter with "Really? Let's see, there's First Friday Art Walk, there are beautiful parks, there are baseball and hockey games, there are concerts, there are wineries, there are talented comedians, actors, artists and so many other performers and artisans who display their talents in so many ways."  I can understand that it's easy to lecture or preach but I'm pretty comfortable spouting off because I practice what I preach. In fact, I like to use myself as an example. When people say there's nothing here for them to do, I ask what it is they want to do. If it doesn't currently exist, make it happen here. And if that seems like to much effort, go follow your dream and let your true light shine so you don't say hanging around here as a dark storm cloud.  I said that I use myself as an example because I do some rather off-beat things. I own a business called Laugh to Live! through which I promote humor and laughter, often using interactive laughter yoga exercises. I perform stand-up comedy. I published a humor book about dating. And in 2005 I worked with the wonderful Jeanne Bovard at the Scranton Area Foundation to develop the non-profit Humor Therapy Fund to promote the healing power of laughter and humor because no such fund or organization existed here in Scranton. So I would respectfully ask again, "What is it that you want to do that does not currently exist or happen here in Scranton? And why aren't you doing it?"

Doesn't it make sense for us to want to promote the city in which we live? And if you own a business, even more so. Wouldn't it do us good if the city is doing well with thriving businesses and visitors and people who actually enjoy living and working here?  Last year I decided to register the domain name "I Like Scranton" because I do like Scranton and I knew that I wanted to do something to help promote the city. The other day I decided that it wouldn't cost me much (or anything with Weebly's basic site builder) to get the website up and start sharing what I like about the city and surrounding area. I'm okay if someone wants to call me a do-gooder. And I'm okay with the fact that there will always be people who choose to hold negative views of the city or dwell on negative aspects of the city (every place has them, even NYC, LA, etc.)  I'm not attempting to transform all of the Debbie Downers and Negative Neds out there. I'd be happy if one of those folks came around and started to appreciate the talent and beauty in their own backyard. Because if one person does then he or she will share his/her new positive attitude and that will surely affect someone else and so on and so on. (There is real power in our words and our attitudes. It's pretty amazing how we affect others - for good or bad - with our actions.)

I hope that this website is a resource for people to find things to do, learn about people and businesses that they might not have known about and ultimately that it will give people at least one new reason to Like Scranton!
8/21/2023 09:54:13 am

Thank youu for writing this


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