Rite of Passage Seventeen –The Helpmate–
1961-1962 I am twenty-eight years old
Enthusiasm: Is this form of enjoyment in one’s occupation actually “entertaining”? Can it wear thin…eventually?
Back in the very early days of New Zealand television, in the 1960’s, there were several programs imported from the BBC (British Broadcasting). Two of them had a profound effect upon my life.
General Sir Brian Horrocks talked about the great battles of the world using a simple sand table model. Sir John Betjeman, at that time the British Poet Laureate, sat on a high stool and discussed such matters as marsh gas and its effect on British architecture!
What made these men so ‘watchable’ was their enthusiasm –they were totally passionate about their subjects and it made for splendid television.
It was their performances that gave Treena and I the understanding that I too should be an ‘enthusiast’ about each dish I presented and it was that change that took me out of “the most boring man in the world” category into which Treena had so engagingly placed me!
I had no audience for the show itself but I had the enormous benefit of a gathering of Treena’s actor friends, she was now doing plays for New Zealand Broadcasting, they came up to sit and critique my initial rehearsals and then eat the food.
In an attempt to amuse them, as well as inform, I would go off on tangents that meant nothing about the recipe…but everything about my enjoyment of…life.
During the actual solitary recording sessions I would recall the often raucous evenings at home and imagine that the camera was a friendly smiling, almost interactive human being.
So…what about now?
As I gained experience over the years and an audience was added, the content began to change and at Treena’s insistence I relinquished the first six minutes of the ‘Galloping Gourmet’ series to engage the general, non foodie, audience.
Many years later a senior executive of the Food Network called Treena to thank her, “If you hadn’t done what you did with Graham,” he suggested, “We might never have had a Network like ours.”
I very much doubt that I would have been able to complete such a stream of programs over a 54 year period, had it not been for the mix of enthusiasm and audience feedback.
When I lecture about life and its choices I still feel that essential eagerness that comes along with enthusiasm.
We have a 13 year old chocolate lab in our family, her name is Pebbles, she has arthritis in her nether regions but when presented with a ball or a stick she is EAGER to run after it, find it and bring it back for another…deeply felt ‘chase’.
I love her eagerness in spite of her age and want to retain mine for as long as I am given the great gift of a responsive audience.
Today, in some places, there are personalities known for being ‘cool’ and so self-assured that they have no need for feedback. For them, it seems, enthusiasm is a bit over-the-top. It can be, or even become so, if it’s forced.
I am so grateful that I still have such joy communicating and really, I’ve never been eager to be…cool!
So, please tell me what you think in the comments below:
- Is this form of enjoyment in ones occupation actually “entertaining”?
- Can it wear thin…eventually?
This week I read Treena’s poem Glacier Bay