Poor Mr. Pignati. He loves to enjoy life, drink wine, tell jokes, and eat gourmet food. And yet he is very lonely. How can this happen? John reflects on how wrong it is that older people (Mr. Pignati is in his fifties) can be so isolated, especially if they're a little eccentric. Ironically, John and Lorraine form a friendship with the oldest character in the novel and are profoundly alienated from adults younger than Mr. Pignati, such as their parents and teachers. Mr. Pignati has an infectious love of life, which he shares with and teaches to John and Lorraine. Ironically, they learn to appreciate life from someone who is about to die.
Although they try to convince themselves otherwise, in many ways John and Lorraine are, in fact, taking advantage of a lonely old man.
John and Lorraine brought joy into Mr. Pignati's life, joy that he would not have had without them.