Italian Apocrypha

It’s probably not true. But it is amusing to think it might be.

Knew a guy once who, back in the day, was not A-list but was high up in the academic semiotics (philosophy of signification) world. not famous but edited books people have read. he told me this story. He goes to Italy and goes to this conference. Umberto Eco is there. He meets Umberto Eco and is very excited. Umberto Eco says, hey man – tonight, come to my hotel room with a bottle of whiskey – and gives him the room number and address.

Our narrator is extremely amped about this, a private evening of discussion with the foremost man in his field. He finds a bottle of whiskey, gets to the hotel, goes to the room. Umberto Eco opens the door and says:

“Do you know what the most valuable thing in life is?”

Narrator says: no.

Umberto Eco says: “solitude” and takes the bottle, and closes the door.

To be honest, this was not my experience of Dottore Eco at all. Both times I met him, he was extremely friendly, very social, and as Spacebunny noted, more than a little charming. But it is amusing nevertheless.