In 1993 I made a mix tape called Enthusiasm. It was the Word of the Day that day, one of my favorites. I learned its origin was Greek, you could tell by the way it ended, like Orgasm or Prism.
It was a TDK SA 90 cassette, a mix tape I made but never gave away, I kept for myself. It had illogical transitions from bands like Can and The Fall to live Allman Brothers, a Ginsberg reading, early King Crimson. No one ever made that tape. It had its own strange thread I wove through. Some of the songs came from records from my stepdad John, that’s where I made it, on the same cassette player I have in our garage now, the one he bought somewhere and then put in storage when they moved to France thinking one day they’d move back, but they never did—and then it got loaded on a trailer and hauled across the country and when the truck pulled up they took off some of the limbs on our trees, it was that big backing up.
Our dog has it, our kids have it, but why is it so hard for us to keep as we get older, enthusiasm? I see it in those who act like life is so hard, like it’s such a burden to live: it’s the enthusiasm that’s wicked away from them. I think you can’t blame that on anyone else, it’s a self-stoking fire.
I got home from work and howled with the dog until my throat gave out, and even with the tinnitus I still play Led Zeppelin too loud in the Volvo, especially when the kids are in the back, in hopes they’ll better understand it, they’ll remember it like it was a movie one day. I do my best to write something worth reading, that’s my enthusiasm.
My Cajun friend Myki, who wanted to be a cello player and compose classical music but lost the spark for some reason and became a carpenter instead, who played pool at a dumpy bar down by the lake: he often said when I go, I want to be tired, man. I want to have nothing left. I want to have lived all there is to live, in this life.
That’s what I call enthusiasm.