I had a Spanish teacher in high school who wore tight, tailored suits and had a shiny dome. He was as short as many of us sophomores (not me), and full of vim and vigor. “¡Ganas!” he used to implore us, as we passed his classroom in other parts of the day. “Desire.” He would squeeze his fist hard like the Cobra-Kei Sen-sei instructing us to sweep the leg.”¡Ganas, Señor Hughes!” It made me feel like an international spy. What I didn’t grasp then is that in adult life desire is indeed manufactured. And for things that could be deemed as arbitrary as homework. To be driven, he told us with one Spanish word, is an active choice we must make everyday. This man from a 1976 Russian Television Spectacular is so driven to delight us that despite (according to the video’s comments) the actual lyrics being blocked by the government of the Soviet Union, he can dig down past what might feel goofy to do, and release the magma of delight contained in the notes of the song. And, paradoxically, delight us twice as much. Take that, censorship. This man, and his total commitment to his act, has the ¡Ganas!
Jeffrey Dinsmore. Gentleman. Office-mate. America’s protagonist.
My father, Patrick Hughes, left the priesthood in 1972 on the same day he married my mother. Then he became a documentarian, producing slideshows that exposed corporate greed, drove down stock prices of the most egregious multinational conglomerates and generally drew the ire of tall buildings and Wall Street.