“When my mother cooked us pasta for dinner, she spent hours, sometimes the whole day, making sure the sauce and the vegetables or meats were perfect, but never once made her own pasta from scratch, ‘because it took too much time.’ I never understood this about her, until she finally explained it to me one day. ‘It’s the sauce that has to be perfect,’ she said. ‘It’s the pasta’s job to get the sauce to your mouth. In a perfect world the pasta would be perfect too, but it’s not a perfect world, so all the pasta has to do is be not terrible.’ To me, the music is the sauce, and opera is the pasta that gets the sauce to your mouth.”
Well, there's good news and bad news. The good news is, since you last saw me, I've shaved all the hair on my head and grew a little more on my face. The bad news is I have just the routine to mold your body from a shape of chewed-up gum, into the shape of that gum molded into two hundred pounds of pure muscle.
I therefore give you my last boon: You will grow up happy, but a little poor. This will teach you the value of wealth. I will surround you with great teachers. They will be far more complex, far more interesting, and above all far sadder, than you will ever be. You will be boring compared to them, John Mallory, but their stories will inevitably end, and yours will go on. You will be just down-on-your-luck enough, just unremarkable enough, and just white enough, to grow up with enough self-confidence to achieve literally any crazy idea you come up with.