Boundless enthusiasm, and where it gets ya.
The award I’m proudest of winning in life is the “Most Enthusiastic” pin at Church Farm School Summer Day Camp, when I was 11 years old. I agree with Nietzsche in two things: 1) How you approach life determines, to a great extent, what your experience of life will be, and 2) If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth going totally overboard on.
On the whole, I’m pretty satisfied with excessive enthusiasm as a life philosophy, but it kind of backfired this Halloween. I went to stock up on Halloween candy at Croppers’ market in nearby Downingtown: since I had described the amount to be purchased as “obscene”, I tried hard to live up to it. Croppers is next door to Home Depot, and occupies the same amount of square footage, so it lent itself to obscenity*.
I ended up buying twelve six-packs of full-size Butterfinger candy bars, which made a pleasing cubical shape (see “before”, on the left.) That’s a total of 72 bars, or 19,440 calories.
<Unfortunately, we only got six trick-or-treaters at our house. I had envisioned a Halloween like the ones I remember, where the suburban streets looked like Grand Central station with bulging pillowcases everywhere. Our street is in a corner of the borough, though, and there are only a couple of kids on the street. So, we got the following:
- Three football players in helmet, pads and jerseys
- One Harry Potter
- One ninja
- One adorable flying one-eyed, one-horned spotted purple people eater (age: about six years.)
It was very satisfying to uncork the full-sized candy bar as a treat: “Wow!” said the kids, making me feel like Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack when he stuffs the hundred-dollar bills into the valet’s shirt pocket (“Park my car… Get my bags… and put on some weight, will ya?”), but I only got rid of a tithe of Mount Butterfinger. Screw you, Nietzsche! What the hell am I supposed to do with 66 full-size Butterfinger bars?
* Once, leading a junior high school scavenger hunt for FOCUS, I decided that the final item to discover would be a baby-blue 50-pound inert bombshell, filled with candy. The thing about a dummy practice bomb is that, when it’s marked 50 pounds, that means that it can accept 50 pounds of sand or water through the access hatch. I blew FOCUS’s activity budget for like, five years to fill the bomb with 50 pounds of candy. So I have some experience in the obscene-candy-shopping area. Those were some WIRED 7th-graders.