A rite of passage for any new Risograph machine is giving it a name that matches its special kind of personality. After sitting with my new (relatively, it was manufactured in 2012) Risograph EZ 391u for a few days, I’ve landed on just the right one — Rocinante.

On the surface it hits all the right notes for me. It starts with R — a probably obvious requirement don’tcha know. But it also has both a meaningful literary, and musical reference baked-in. And more than that, the literary reference to Don Quixote is about as apt as you could ask for to describe the particular qualities of a Risograph.

Rocinante was Don Quixote’s loyal steed and companion on his quest, but also a mirror of his master. Something about that speaks to me — an intentionally ambiguous word with ties to both the past and the future, and relating to characteristics that represent us all — unpredictable and imperfect. Author Miguel de Cervantes wrote:

Four days were spent in thinking what name to give him, because (as he said to himself) it was not right that a horse belonging to a knight so famous, and one with such merits of his own, should be without some distinctive name, and he strove to adapt it so as to indicate what he had been before belonging to a knight-errant, and what he then was.

Coincidentally it’s been 4 days since the Risograph arrived at my door which makes the name seem even more an obvious choice to elevate the machine out of the past — as a relic — and towards something more noble and lofty.