Readers’ responses to the most recent editor’s letter, which objected to the very human but dangerous tendency to create pleasant-sounding phrases, or more often acronyms, to refer to things that make us uncomfortable (such as medically assisted suicide), almost unanimously applauded my position. I was a bit surprised, given that most of the letters responding to the June editor’s letter supported legislation making medical assistance in dying available, but I shouldn’t have been. Getting a lot of mail in response to something in print is a sign that readers care about a subject. Many people—perhaps most—won’t respond unless you touch a nerve. Touch the right nerve and you’ll get a response—in much the same way the combination of ice cream and sensitive teeth tends to spark a response. That response, however, isn’t the same as an opinion poll, even a very unscientific one. I can’t tell you what most of our readers think about the subject, but I can tell you that it’s a subject about which we all (for, against, or somewhere in-between) care deeply, and that this caring clearly comes from concern for other people.
So while you might find that you disagree with someone on the subject, I’d ask you to remember that you disagree because you both care, not because the person with whom you disagree is a heartless fiend completely lacking in intellect or common sense. (He or she may indeed be an evil idiot, but it’s best not to begin by assuming that; true evil idiots are rare—the current state of political discourse in the United States notwithstanding.)
One reader didn’t go so far as to call me anything nasty, but he did suggest that I have a lot to learn. “As you age,” he wrote, “hopefully you’ll also mellow.” He suggested that the harsh realities of life would teach me to see life’s shades of grey, the nuances that make moral choices the complicated things they are. I suspect I’m older than he thinks—been there, done that, got lots of T-shirts I wish I didn’t have. Or rather, T-shirts I’d prefer not to have to earn again. Now that I’ve had those experiences, I’m grateful for what they taught me.
And Now for Something (Not Completely) Different
Readers who regularly take up the challenge presented by our crossword puzzles are in for a surprise in this issue (and I hope they’re reading this before turning to page 66): after 35 years of puzzling, more than 25 of which included supplying Good Times, Chris Johnson has decided to retire. We’ll miss his contributions to the magazine and thank him for testing, teasing, and tormenting us all for as long as he did.
Joining us in this issue is Gwen Sjogren. While each of Gwen’s puzzles has a different theme—this time it’s the Olympic Games—all feature a refreshing mix of Canadian content. Have fun!
Murray Lewis, Editor-in-Chief