On a trip a couple of years ago, I realized that I should’ve given more thought to flying with a head cold. About halfway through, the pressure in my ears became so intense that I thought my eardrums might explode. Feeling sorry for myself, I wanted to cry, but didn’t for fear of looking ridiculous. A kind flight attendant noticed my misery anyway, and her solution made me look much more ridiculous than a few measly tears: She brought me two cups filled with warm, wet paper towels to hold over my ears. By that point, I didn’t care what I looked like (though I’m sure it was goofy); it worked and I am forever grateful to her.

We travel by air so regularly these days that it’s almost second nature to most of us. But your health is important, and you don’t want anything to slow you down when you’re on the move. That’s why you should check out “Fly Right” (page 46), a Travel department offering in-flight health tips.

Like every issue of American Way, this one is packed with lots of useful advice: Football great Phil Simms tells you how to watch the Super Bowl (page 80) in our Lifestyle section. In Business, we offer pointers on running effective meetings (page 92) and how to snoop at the office (page 96; got your attention, didn’t it?).

There’s much more. But my favorite recommendations are found in the Travel section, in Anthony Hopkins’ Celebrated Weekend in Florence (page 28), where he filmed the upcoming Hannibal. So many people rank Florence as their favorite city, and it’s high on my own list, too; the food, the art, the surroundings are so rich, and I’d love to go back. But I never thought about seeing it through Hannibal Lecter’s eyes. (Hopkins says: “We filmed inside the Palazzo Vecchio. … As Lecter I sliced a cop named Pazzi’s throat out, disemboweled him, and threw him out the window into the Palazzo Vecchio.” Hmmm. Interesting perspective.)

Let us know what you think — but no letters teasing me about being a crybaby, please — at americanway @compuserve.com.

Elaine Srnka