When most of us think of passion, we usually think in narrow-minded, simplistic terms relating to romance, love or lust. But, since I have been here on Crete, I think that I have gained a fuller, more complete understanding of passion, and I don’t think that I will ever view passion in quite the same way again. I didn’t set out to learn about passion...it just seemed to confront me here - at every turn and around every corner. Sometimes I think the Greeks must have invented passion, and who knows, perhaps they did. The Greeks do everything with a passion: They come into this world kicking and screaming; they live their lives kicking and screaming; and, they go out of this world the same way – yes, kicking and screaming! And, in between the birthing and the dying, every living moment is a passionate involvement of one sort or another. Everything a Greek does is done with passion. They cook their meals with passion, and they eat them in the same way – with passion. They drive their cars with passion – just climb into the back seat of a taxi and you will learn what passion is at 90 miles an hour! They raise their olive groves and grape vineyards with passion, attacking the rocky soil to produce some of the finest olives and grapes the world has ever seen, and subsequently, the finest olive oil and wine the world has ever tasted. And, when they drink, they consume their Ouzo and Raki with a conservative form of passion, that is, until the alcohol has displaced reason with passion! And when they talk, it is with wild abandon, waving their hands and arms about as if they are attempting to flail some unseen demon in the air, voices raised, shouting like they are angry, faces red, veins protruding from their necks and foreheads; you’d think at any moment an aneurysm would burst resulting in instant death. But when they finish talking, they depart company with smiles, firm hand shakes, and pats on the back. Even the Greek women dress with passion. I call it provocative conservatism - or fashion passion. They love to reveal the bust line with V-neck shirts and blouses plunging to the greatest depths. And with the aid of prosthetic devices that push-up, lift-up, raise-up, emphasize, accent, elevate, separate, inflate, accentuate, escalate, and exalt their busts, the female form is raised to the highest levels of admiration! And they wear their slacks and jeans so low in the front their gender is barely concealed, and in the back, they wear them so low that it hardly covers their ass...ets (sorry, I couldn’t resist that pun!). And, while they appreciate those who appreciate their God-given endowments, make no mistake about it, they maintain only the highest moral standards, and God protect any man who might think otherwise! They also work with a passion. Just watch as a linesman is up an electric pole working with thousands of volts of electricity just inches away, and there will be ten passersby on the ground shouting instructions, telling him what to do and how to do it – none with any more electrical experience than having inserted a plug into an electrical outlet! And, don’t ever engage a Greek on the subject of religion, politics or sports: Any one of those topics is fodder for war, or at least armed confrontation! They also write with passion: Look at the old philosophical writings of Socrates, Plato or Aristotle, or THE ILIAD and THE ODYSSEY by Homer, or something more recent, such as, ZORBA THE GREEK, by Nikos Kazantzakis. Alexis Zorba lived every minute as if he might die any moment!
So, in the final analysis, what is “passion”? Passion is simply life lived to its fullest...anything other than that or less than that is merely a life of mundane mediocrity, incompatible with passion.
That brings me to the conclusion of this entry: I want to live life that same way, so that when I have drawn my last breath and have closed my eyes for the final time, and as others pass before me paying their last respects, they might say, “Truly, his was a life well lived – a life full of passion!”.
As always, take care, stay well, and let me hear from you.
Your Friend and Fellow “Silent Warrior”,
Bob (Midget) Armistead