The Real Ending?

How does the story pick up and continue after the Tale of Marcela? It’s easy to imagine a short story ending here. If Quixote’s quest is all about restoring the Golden Age through deeds of the knight errant, Marcela spells out in detail why this is not only an absurd quest, but a counterproductive and oppressive one.

Of course, I am under no obligation to follow Cervantes all the way to the end of his book — many scholars have already followed that path. If Marcela sticks the landing for the story I want to tell, then I am free to end it right here. And I shall.

Taking stock of where this journey began in March and has led in the final week of July, I now see a logical pattern that appeared random as it was being created. The story has all been about processing and laying to rest a confounding relationship in my recent past. I started out with many questions and confused feelings.

I started out with my old friend Montaigne as a guide, who helped me get used to the solitude of the lockdown, and then made me feel comfortable following his path of personal reflection and observation. I used his words as long as they felt useful, then set off on my own.

I went far deeper into psychology than I ever intended and probably revealed more details of my therapy than would be advisable. I dabbled in some amateur psychology myself and did an unexpectedly deep dive into the works of Jung. This led to a major breakthrough that allowed me to depersonalize my feelings quite a bit and separate the person in question from my anima.

Chasing where this anima wanted to take me somehow led me to Quixote, and I followed the knight errant’s path on a similar quest to earn his anima’s approval, only to realize that my anima does not, in fact, ask anything of me and these acts of daring are little more than my attempt to win over a fictional character.

And this, interestingly enough, leads me back to a song that I wrote in February for an Old Town School class when I was deep in my anima poisoning stage. It was called “The Ballad of Charlie the Tuna,” and it was about the Starkist Tuna pitch fish who, for five decades, did increasingly elaborate acts of daring to prove to Starkist that he was worthy of their attention because he had good taste. This video is one of the best examples of the series.

There are two ways of looking at Charlie — he’s either a fool who does a series of pointless acts to prove his good taste for no reason, setting himself up for disappointment, rejection and isolation; or, he’s a genius, because his acts of differentiation keep him from being caught, boned, filleted and stuffed into a can like thousands of fish just like him.

I choose to believe a mix of the two — it is Charlie’s uniqueness that keeps him alive. But there’s a sadness to his quest, because it does separate him from his nature. And so I close out this series with my song, recognizing that these past four months of writing have been mostly my own Charlie the Tuna exercise to stay alive when the world seems to be closing in.

The Ballad of Charlie the Tuna

I can’t expect to win your heart, by being part of the same old crowd

Never felt quite myself, wearing a cap and singing aloud

So when I swim in deeper waters, it doesn’t mean that I like it alone

And just because I have opinions, it doesn’t mean you can throw that stone

So if I sound a bit off key, maybe your ears could use a tune

And if my ideas are strange and free, it could be your mind is just a cartoon

Because I have style

Because I have passion

Because I have taste

I’m still alive now

Because I have drive

Because I have vision

Because I have taste

I’m nobody’s lunch

Somebody asked if I preferred, to be chunky or albacore

But I said don’t be naïve, packed up in water is such a bore

I poured a bath, Chateau Lafite, the ‘16 always blows me away

 And if they say why drink a red, I make them pronounce aquifoliaceae

Now if you say that I’m a snob, or that I put on airs so tight

Just remember Bob, Phil and Joe, stuffed in package called Chunk Light

Because I have style

Because I have passion

Because I have taste

I’m still alive now

Because I have drive

Because I have vision

Because I have taste

I’m still free for lunch

Yes, I have that drive

I have that vision

I have good taste

And who’s sorry now?

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