Letter Rip

We love letters. Maybe it's because our grandmas always used to tape a quarter to our birthday cards when we were little, and we now have this Pavlovian thing going on. Regardless, we want to hear from you. Sing our praises, bust our chops, or just tell us what's on your mind. Send your thoughts to editor@americanwaymag.com.

Free Stuff
CESAR SILVA is the latest winner of our Favorite Letter Giveaway. Want a chance to win something as well? Write us a letter!

In our December 15 issue, CESAR SILVA shared with us his fight against BlackBerry addiction. To help him in his quest by giving him something else to occupy his time, we're sending him two great, comprehensive books: The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker (Black Dog & Leventhal, $35), featuring those cartoons everyone knows and loves, and Sports Illustrated: The Baseball Book (Sports Illustrated Books, $30), which is a detailed look at the sport and its surrounding culture by the knowledgeable folks at SI. Happy reading, Cesar! Want to win something too? Drop us a line sometime.

I am writing because I am Sudoku blue. That's the feeling you get upon discovering that the Sudoku puzzles in your copy of American Way have been completed and thenlearning (after politely asking your neighbors) that the puzzles in all the copies of American Way in your vicinity have also been filled in. I realize how Pavlovian my response to this predicament has become. Feelings of withdrawal grow in my deepest recesses.  Do my neighbors recognize my nervousness and my obvious agitation? Is this a big-enough emergency to justify calling a flight attendant, who seems preoccupied with getting the other passengers mere drinks? To push the call button would be a tacit admission of dependency. I succumb. The attendant pulls herself away from her work to respond speedily to my plight, perhaps expecting a bout of nausea or some other emergency. When I tell her that I need a fresh American Way, one without a completed Sudoku, she looks disappointedly at me, perhaps with a hint of disdain. She's met my kind before. Visible traces of scorn line her face. Without any sense of urgency, she leaves me, promising only that she will see what she can do. Seconds turn into minutes. I watch her slowly make her way down the aisle serving those drinks. Beads of perspiration grace my brow. My heart palpitates. How long must I wait? I try to breathe deeply while picturing myself on a sunny tropical beach or rapidly skiing down a Colorado double black diamond. Must ... not ... panic. I feel a tap on my shoulder, and there the flight attendant is, with a virgin AW in hand. My hands tremble with excitement, as I still have time to get through all three puzzles before we land.
Greg Jenks, Dallas, Texas

Dear Greg: We wish we could say there are groups for people like you. Alas, we haven't yet heard about any Sudoku Anonymous meetings going on. But admitting one's ­dependency is the first step toward coming to terms with it. Good luck to you.

My husband flies on American Airlines every week. He knows to bring home the latest issue of American Way for me to read. Otherwise, he’ll be sent back to O’Hare to board another flight!
Jennifer Ganser, Chicago, Illinois

Dear Jennifer: Faced with the choice of having the latest copy of American Way or ­having your husband at home with you, you’d choose us? We like the way you think. And we believe we’re worth it!

Tell me that neither Sherri Burns nor Jim Shahin was responsible for moving the answers to the Mensa quiz right next to the questions. It must be that new intern who is a Sudoku fan. (I notice the answers to those puzzles are not on the same page as the grids.) When I first saw this, I knew it was a mistake that would not reoccur. Then, I opened the November 1 issue and, sure enough, there they were again. I love interns, but they need to be reviewed often. Yes, I can try to answer the Mensa ­questions without looking. However, the challenge is often too great, and before I know it, my eyes have wandered. Please move the answers to a different page.
Cliff Pappas, Goodyear, Arizona

Dear Cliff: Actually, our placement of puzzle answers is more clinical and deliberate than the mercurial and mischievous machinations­ of an office intern. The placement of the answers is usually fueled by the ads we have in a given issue and where those ads need to fall as a result of their shape and other requirements. But we like your theory! Unfortunately, from time to time, you may still have to resist the temptation to peek — but we’ll do our best to keep it to a minimum.