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What he really wanted was to be a writer. He said that studying philosophy gave him a solid and clear view of reality and if he was to seek in his writing to hold a mirror up to life, his knowledge of philosophy would help him by providing an honest image of it. But he also said that with a philosophic understanding he could write about it not as it necessarily appeared but as it could be in any of its many possible disarrangements.

José was important to this story because of his prodding his friend Giorgio into examining his own life from time to time.

* * *

It must be said first that Professor Doctor Giorgio Fortunati was not the most intelligent of men, though he was intelligent. He at least had some respected academic degrees and a classical and European education. Having all that, and partly because of some successful publications of books as well as journal articles in his field, he held an enviable position at a good university.

[I should state here that Professor Doctor Giorgio Fortunati was also known on campus as Professor Fortunati, or Doctor Fortunati, or to his really close friends (who were few) as simply Giorgio. We shall use Giorgio henceforth in this narrative, unless the more formal citation is more proper.]

Giorgio was a son of Italian immigrants to the U.S., raised in a poor neighborhood in New York City—back when they had real ethnic neighborhoods. Most of those growing up in his neighborhood during those years (in the 1920s and 30s) acquired careers with the police, law, politicians, or gangs. But there was also the Church, education, and (the biggest attraction of all) business. The Italians were good at business. From the small restaurant, the bakery, the grocer's, to the retail trader there were more than enough openings in the big city. Our hero chose education and now he was a professor of philosophy in a quite large enough university. Such an achievement might be considered a success.

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