Passion. It's what makes most of HighEnd audio tick. In the Hollywood flick Serendipity, the hero's best man and comic relief writes the obituary column for the NY Times. In a memorable address to his bumbling leading man friend, he claims that the Greeks didn't have obituaries. All they wanted to know when a man died was whether he'd lived with passion. If so, he had done well and was worth remembering and celebrating. Otherwise, he didn't merit a speech, just the shovel and the dirt.

Even if that's pure Hollywood mystique, it should be true. Hell, even in criminal court, a crime of passion is regarded somewhat differently than cold-blooded murder. When passion goes wrong, we still sympathize with it as though it were motivated by higher reason than - well, mere calculation and scheming. Passion. It's the glue that holds things together when they want to fall apart.

Terry Cain of Cain & Cain loudspeakers recently passed away after battling a debilitating combination of Lyme and Lou Gehrig disease. He even knew when he'd contracted Lyme. He'd been on his way to a show and had pulled over on the side of a road for a break. Taking his socks off, he'd walked around the grass, stretched out and had a sandwich and a nap. Then he got tweaked by a tick, unscrewed its little head and went to the show thinking no more of it. The spot discolored a week later and less than two years later, it's the shovel and the dirt. It can be the smallest of things.

Here in Cyprus, this year's rainy season was uncommonly ferocious. On a coastal road nearby where I drive to the grocery store every week, a retainer broke and a massive flash flood emptied down the hill on its way to the sea like an avalanche. While crossing the road, it wiped out a 4x4 that just happened to synchronize going into that bend at the precise moment. It got taken aloft and thrown down a cliff. A helicopter was looking for days to find the body of the man. His wife had drowned strapped in the car. You're driving down a road minding your own business. Then your time's up and a freak flash flood takes your life. Passion. Without it, you're just marking time.

I didn't know Terry Cain very well but had met him at numerous shows. From all accounts of those who remember him, he was fiercely driven by passion. If we were ancient Greeks and not 21st century creatures glued to the telly, we'd applaud him loudly for having lived a meaningful and memorable life. His creations survive him outside his circle of friends and family, by how much joy and pleasure they give to their owners. If we could all live lives that didn't end in mere disappearance but continued on in a similar fashion to Terry's, the world would be a better place. Would that we'd all be so lucky as to discover what we're truly passionate about. That we'd have the courage to build our lives around that and not security and convenience and comfort. And that we'd employ the discipline and commitment necessary to mine our passion as deeply as possible and burn our candle from both ends.

It surely is true that we've all been given gifts and talents. Once we step into them, we get empowered. Something greater than us gets activated and expressed. Passion is the key to unlock that mystery and a memorable and creative life becomes the outcome. Memorable in the ancient Greek and serendipitous sense of the word. To hell with fame and fortune - though in appropriate ways, they often do follow passion, eventually. Saludos to Terry Cain for reminding us how all of that is done in style...

PS: Our Terry Cain Memorial Fund is ongoing to help Terry's widow Leslie cope with his medical and funeral expenses. Many many people have contributed gear to sell and agreed to leave it up on our list to benefit Leslie in the current circumstance. However, we won't leave this page up indefinitely. Once the family informs us of its needs and wishes, the offer could go away overnight. At best, it'll stay up until the end of January. If you're inclined to help, don't wait. Act now. It really is for a good cause. Passion does come in many forms.