uncurbed enthusiasm

photo by Phil Stern, 1952, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

I have this postcard on my bulletin board
love the enthusiasm
the go-for-it-ness
the absolute
to hitting the note
& to being in the moment.
Sing it, Louis & Ella!
I don't get the sense
they're too worried
or caught up in
how they look,
what people think,
will this be silly?...
just singing.

I used to admire
cool (hello, high school)
that kicked back,
back-row opposite of
eager, front-row enthusiasm
but now my heroes are
interesting, engaged people
who are passionate about what they do
who open wide
and belt it out loud
(and end up cool anyway).
Louis Armstrong
Lance Armstrong
Leonard Bernstein
GB Hinckley
Esther Petersen
Steve Carell
Madeleine Albright
Nikan, Sam's piano teacher
Anne Lamott
Anna Quindlen
Grandpa Pax
the guy who bags my groceries with gusto
my kids' 5th grade teacher...
{feel free to jump in here with more}
I'm a little stingy with my own enthusiasm
but I'm trying to be better
especially since it drives
my hyper-coolness-aware
and that's kind of fun
{at what age does enthusiasm
come back out of teenage hibernation?}
Believe me, I know it happens to the best of us
When I was young, I had enthusiasm to spare:

just give me a swing

or a hula hoop
But then, the hibernation occurs...

Family vacation? Not a bit of enthusiasm to be found.
But I will humor you with a photo.
And Grand Canyon? Please.
To show excitement would be weakness.
Don't bore me with your natural wonders
and your fantastic vistas.
Excuse me while I avert my eyes
from such enthusiastic nature.
Just give me my walkman
and my 80s wayfarer sunglasses &
I'll call you in 20 years when
I get my enthusiasm back.