Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Poor Don Quixote. He keeps getting his ass handed to him. After a particularly sound thrashing he finds himself unable to get up and begins to recite dialogue from the books that inspired him to become a wandering knight.
I can relate to this.
I used to drink a lot. And often. It was the first year of college, after all. Not my first year of college, but someone's first year surely. There were many times where I drank too much. There were also several times when I drank waaaay too much. That I cheated death and came away with only the mildest of brain damage, I believe, was no accident.
In everyone's brain is a tiny little glass case containing a single brain cell. Etched into the glass case is "In Case of Emergency Break Glass". There is also a tiny bone hammer hanging next to it. The anatomists teach us that the smallest bones in the human body are the anvil, the hammer, and the stirrup located in the inner ear, but this tiny bone hammer is actually the smallest.
In my brain, that little bone hammer has long been worn down to the handle and tiny shards of glass are everywhere.
When I was drunk beyond all reasoning there was still this lone brain cell running around desperately trying to keep me alive. This brain cell was smart, though. It didn't try to run to the part of the brain that controls my heart, or my lungs, or tells my blood which way to flow.
It ran to my memory of the book Night by Elie Weisel. While my body was failing and I just wanted to curl up where I was and fall asleep, the emergency brain cell would send me the image of a starving Elie being forced to march through the snow while those who could not keep up were shot. I don't imagine my experience can compare to that nightmare, but it was enough to keep me from passing out long enough to make sure I was done being sick and had been able to at least keep down some water.
It is my hope that someday I will be able to draw inspiration from the suffering endured by others for something more honorable than staving off alcohol poisoning.
A boy can dream.
And then his friends burned Don Quixote's books! Jerks!
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Google reminds me that is the birthday of Jorge Luis Borges. Love that guy. And he was a fan of Don Quixote. So there's that connection. That is cool. Books are cool.