The Hope and Madness of Don Quixote
I stood in line behind Cervantes at the office supply store. No, not that Cervantes. But like the man who wrote Don Quixote, or perhaps I should say, like Don Quixote himself, this Cervantes was exceedingly polite. Dare I say chivalrous. He was on a mission — one that neither I nor the lone overworked clerk understood. Cervantes indicated that under ordinary circumstances, he would let me go first, but in this case, his mission took precedence. He also earnestly asked me to sign his document. Against my better judgement, I did.
How could I tell Cervantes no? Even if he was a little mad.
Hope looks a lot like madness. It envisions a reality no one else can see. How other people respond to a person who builds their life around such wild hope is the subject of Miguel de Cervante’s Don Quixote, published in two parts, in 1605 and 1615. But madness is also the coin that allows Quixote to bring us delight and pleasure, even in his worst moments.
The madness that makes me believe in stories is the coin which I never tire of spending. There is no more hopeful act than to open a new book and read these magical words: Chapter 1.
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