Boundless enthusiasm, and where it

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.

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