Elgorriaga reads from the final page of Candide and weaves his own thoughts into the Voltairean tapestry:
"He became a very adequate carpenter...."
Elgorriaga interjects: "Imagine, Brother Giroflée, the preacher who fell in love with Paquette.
"...and even an honest man.
"Very tasty, no?" the professor says. "Work...makes...men...honest. He means to say, 'Let's do an honest day's work.' No? Why? Because the work is the thing that defines honesty. Do you see that if there is a morality in this limited world, it's based on the work ethic? If we do an honest day's work, we're going to be good people. That's what he's saying."
Elgorriaga intones the last line of the tale:
" 'That is very well put, 'said Candide, 'but we must cultivate our garden.' "
The coach then shifts into Socratic overdrive: "What does this mean? What does he mean? What does the act of cultivating the garden do for those people?"
The enthusiasm Elgorriaga has for his subject breathes fresh life into the ancient lungs of Voltaire's hero. The gray-haired, bespectacled, eminently academic professor seems a thousand miles from any soccer field, and an observer cannot help but think, "Very tasty, no?"
José Elgorriaga was born in 1927 in Irun, a Basque town in the Spanish province of Guipúzcoa, where his father was a customs official and a Republican loyalist. When the Spanish Civil War broke out in '36, his family fled to France. "The link between the province of Guipúzcoa and France was a bridge over the Bidassoa river," Elgorriaga recalls. "The first thing, when the war started on July 18, my father learned that the loyalists would blow up the bridge. Our house was maybe 30 meters from the bridge. We had to evacuate the town—fast. We went into France, just across the river, and as we went up the hill, we heard the explosion, we looked back, and we saw the bridge going up."