“Thank you all for being here today. I know that Paul...Captain Quixotic as most knew him, would be honored to see how many lives he touched over the course of his life. He never kept count, he rarely went back to those stories, and he always told me that the only thing that mattered was the next person that needed his help. He loved people, and his only goal was to help people in need. Not to change the world, but to change lives.
Captain Quixotic was unstoppable, a symbol of ‘better.’ But Paul had his own struggles. He understood what it meant to be on the edge, and he used Captain Quixotic as a way to reach out and pull people away from it. He would be proud to see that even in death, he has been able to reach out one last time. Paul, Captain Quixotic, and I thank you.”
As Sharon steps away from the podium and slips backstage, a young woman approaches the podium with a folder full of papers. She pulls the papers out and places them on the angled surface and clears her throat as the sound echoes across a crowd of people that stretches as far as her eye can see and as wide as the ocean. She slowly leans forward toward the bundle of microphones attached to the podium:
“Growing up, we always heard the legends of Captain Quixotic. How he could save anyone, anywhere. In high school, some friends and I decided to test that. What fun is it to live in a world with a superhero if you never even get to meet him?
So we did something dumb. We decided to jump my friend’s car from the old bridge across ROOKER’S CANYON. Six stories of free fall before we hit the shallow water below. We screamed loud enough to shatter glass as we braced for impact and feared for our lives when we went over the edge. But just like we had always heard, Captain Quixotic showed up and caught the car before we hit the bottom.
Kathy bumped her head on the steering wheel from the quick stop, but Captain Quixotic took the car with us in it and dropped us in the parking lot in front of the ER. The entire trip was dominated by his voice as he explained that we were playing with fire and reminded us that he might not be around one day. We laughed at that part because no one believed that he would die. ‘Captain Quixotic is immortal,’ we thought.
Had Captain Quixotic not been there, I wouldn’t be here today. I always was and will be grateful to him, and now I work to teach youth not to repeat my same mistakes. Thank you Captain Quixotic.”
As the young woman is exiting the stage, there is a flash of feedback as a loud squeal roars from the speakers and echoes across the landscape, causing many in the audience to throw their hands up over their ears in pain. The sound engineers quickly drop the volume and slowly raise it back once the feedback fades. There are still some barely audible digital artifacts floating through the lines but not enough to stop the memorial service. A middle-aged man approaches the podium and places a paper and bottle of water on the podium: