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Greetings and Salutations to you all. My name is Giuseppe Mapotopolis, Mr. Map to nearly all who know me, and I am the premier Life Cartographer for the Stenographic Republic. What is the Stenographic Republic you ask? Excellent question. It is a group of planets situated in the far reaches of the galaxy that pride themselves on supreme organization. Indeed, they live to be organized, and thus they have beings such as myself to help map out the course of their lives. I shall not bore you with any more detail than that and thus shall move on to sharing the tale I’ve been asked to relate.

Sixty years ago there was a young Cartosian, Willy, who just couldn’t seem to get his life together. Oh, he had tried all the usual avenues one of such a young age as three hundred and ninety could try. He had worked in the various planning fields as well as the architectural and even did a brief stint as an explorer, but ultimately failed to find his niche. Left with no choice but to seek the services of a Life Cartographer he found his way to me.

I recall thinking he was quite possibly the most miserable looking individual I had ever seen the day he shuffled into my office looking as if he’d just rolled out of bed. As he slumped into one of the chairs before my desk I must confess I had serious doubts about my abilities to straighten such an unkempt individual out. I did not dwell on such negativity, however, and thus closed his file as I locked our gazes.

I took the time to carefully formulate what I wished to say. There was, after all, no need to bring him lower than he was by admonishing him for the lack of neatness about his person or his life. At length I informed him I had read his information, hoped that I could be of some assistance, and then proceeded to ask him all the usual questions concerning his preferences, strengths, weakness, and so on. By the end of that first meeting I had very little hope for Willy. There was not so much as a sliver of ability, desire, or potential that I might use to even begin to suggest what direction his life should take. As uncertain as I was about his prospects, I had never failed a client and I wasn’t about to start just then.

So with determined positivity I pulled up my socks and began a Life Comprehension Program. For the next thirty-two moon cycles I was Willy’s shadow. Everywhere he went I followed, observing the when, what, where, and how of his daily activities while scribbling notes. The first few weeks I simply returned each night to my abode to pour over the day’s findings. Eventually I had enough to begin construction of Willy’s life map. The pivotal moment, however, when eureka struck came just days before my time with Willy was to end.

It was a lovely day with the sun shining brightly, guber froth twittlings filling the air with their tinkling melody, and a gentle breeze gliding coolly across my scales. We were sat in Bologna Park on the benches near the fountain enjoying a scrumptious lunch of roasted nattering sandwiches when a young female, no more than a hundred give or take, sat down beside Willy with a dejected slump to her shoulders. It was obvious by the way sighed, “Oh Willy,” and the resulting concern in his eyes that they were rather close. Not one to pass up an opportunity, even for roasted nattering, I took pen in hand to jot down whatever pertinent details should come to light from their meeting.

The young woman, Violet, spun a most tragic tale of woe concerning the loss of her Uncle Hubert, the shocking lack of a will, and the subsequent loss of the family holdings. It tugged at my heart most fierce generating within me a keen desire to offer some sort of advice or assistance. I resisted this, as it was not my place, and I must tell you, it was quite a herculean struggle to do so. Willy, on the other hand, did not restrain himself in the least. Indeed, he took her hand and began to console and counsel her with the utmost tender care. In amazement I listened as he offered her solid advice on every concern she raised until the end of it all had Violet smiling brightly with hope as her shoulders straightened with renewed confidence. She, of course, thanked Willy with a gushing of gratefulness, which he waved away modestly saying, “Think nothing of it, happy to help.” I could tell, though, by the new sparkle in his eye, the improved line of his posture, and the way he’d gain an air of purpose underscored with pride in is overall demeanor that he had found definitive satisfaction in helping her. I was so pleased with the outcome of it all that I sat with a silly smile upon my face, believing it was entirely possible to find a vocation that suited him perfectly, when realization struck. Willy was meant to be a Life Cartographer!

Excitedly I told him as much, he stared at me in stunned disbelief, but as I shared the reasons for my conclusion I saw acceptance, and eventually eagerness, begin to grow in his eyes. After a few additional reassurances this was indeed his life path I offered him an apprenticeship with me. He gladly accepted, of course, and we have shared many wonderful years working side by side with the understanding he will claim my office one day.

In closing, Ladies and Gentlemen, I say to you; even when it seems you are clueless, aimless, and lacking in purpose, never give up. Your niche is out there, it’s all just a matter of having the right map to find it.

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