The only limit that he knew was in the realm of morality. This was the only thing that stopped him and that is the very reason that it was the only thing that mattered. For him it made no sense to be attached to anything material or immaterial that could be an accessory, even though whoever was with him might feel that it was necessary and important.

For example, a vain person would certainly go through a series of experiences in Jimmy's hands that would be more intense the more resistance he or she applied. If Jimmy's company were tolerated, no trace of the old vanity would remain.

With Jimmy came not what one wanted, but what one did not want, that which one feared. If there was a weakness, it would be the first thing that one would be confronted with repetitively until one reached one's fill. One needed courage to tolerate something like that and I sensed that only someone with a lot of that courage could administer that type of medicine, that the teacher of a discipline first has to dominate that same discipline.

The way I saw it at the time, I would say that day-to-day life was much more easy-going before Jimmy though he was much more entertaining than life itself. And we chose Jimmy, or better said, what came with Jimmy.

It can be deduced from my words that, if it had to be that way, he could be a tough instructor and a difficult travel companion as, effectively, he turned out to be. Nevertheless one has to say in his favor that if one were living in a complicated situation one would like to have him close by one's side.

JIMMY'S TEACHINGS

I remember that my friend mentioned that we had been chosen because during the course of our lives we were going to get lost, we were going to take wrong paths. The idea behind these remarks seemed to me to be very Christian. I thought that in my case he could be right. Within me there were many weaknesses of character that might have led me astray. Nevertheless, when it came to him I could not understand what specifically he was talking about. I felt that someone with his characteristics would be exposed to a series of tests and temptations that were very different from mine. As a result, the comparison was inevitable. What did we have in common? It was not only me who was asking that question.

"The only thing that you and I have in common," he said to me one day "is the vein that runs up our left temple."

It was not the only time that I heard him say that. He always said it in a serious tone and I never understood what was behind those words. I always thought that it was a physical description of an emotional way of thinking, all that it appeared to me that I had in common with him.

It was clear that all the forces were focused on my friend. I was taking advantage of the single fact that he was sharing certain experiences with me and I learned a lot from it. Nevertheless, one can also say that I also had some lessons, taught the way that life teaches them, that served to file down certain rough edges, certain defects that in the most unconscious way lived in my personality. I'd like to give an example.

What I'm going to tell, was for me the first major test. We truly don't know ourselves well until we have lived through certain unusual situations that are outside what until then had been our normal life. Then, all at once, a series of tendencies come out, ones that lie as potential, as if hidden, and that at that moment emerge to the light.