Questions of Place

Mada­gas­car.

The name had such a feel to it, a grand exoti­cism, an impli­ca­tion of adven­ture and mys­tery. Even with the lame ani­mat­ed film still in recent mem­o­ry, noth­ing could real­ly take the shine off those four syl­la­bles. With a name like that, it didn’t even real­ly need to be a real place.

If it even was a real place. I mean, he had nev­er seen it. It was like Chi­na, or Tole­do: exot­ic places he had nev­er been to, that sup­pos­ed­ly exist­ed, but how could he real­ly be sure? I mean, one of his friends in col­lege has spec­u­lat­ed that Europe had been so thor­ough­ly destroyed by the Sec­ond World War that it had been aban­doned, and the pop­u­lar touristy bits had been secret­ly and painstak­ing­ly rebuilt in Iowa.

Obvi­ous­ly that was just a joke (he was pret­ty sure), but it made one think: how real could a place be if you nev­er went there?

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