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I’m not good with surprises. Maybe it’s because astrologically, I am a border child (I’m a Virgo, but as my birthday is at the end of August, I’m right on the Leo line). Or maybe it’s because the surprises in my life haven’t always been good. In any event, I can appreciate the efforts that go into a good surprise without actually enjoying the surprise itself. Make sense? Let me explain it this way:

There’s a big football game scheduled, and your team’s starting quarterback rolls his ankle five minutes before kickoff. That’s a bad surprise. Then the game gets underway, and this unheralded kid, this circumstances-tapped helmsman, has a breakout performance. Your team wins despite the marquee hole in the lineup. That’s a good surprise, one that you appreciate, but at the same time, you’re not necessarily overjoyed by it. Still confused? Then I’ll try to make sense -- or at least, make a point.

This month marks my third one as the editor of American Way. I’m loving every minute of it, and based on your letters over the last 90 days, I’m confident that our humble magazine is evolving into a read that can be something for everyone. Yet we can always improve. So guess what? I have some surprises in store for you.

They’ll be divulged a little like the surprise my wife pulled on my 30th birthday was. I knew she was planning something, but she’s a master at feeding me misinformation and turning the trail of truth I’m on cold. So I went around her and tried to hustle one of my friends.

“Gavin, I know Kimberly is throwing me a surprise party,” I said. “I even know the date. But between you and me, I was planning on visiting my sister that weekend. So I’ve asked her to come in for the party. Where should I have her meet us so that she doesn’t ruin the ‘surprise?’ ”

“Seriously?” he asked, quite curious how I’d sleuthed this one. “Who told you?”

“Come on, man, you know who told me.”

“It was Jeff, wasn’t it?”

“Now, you know I can’t say.”

“I know it was Jeff. Just tell me if Jeff told you everything.”

“All right, look: I told him I wouldn’t say that he was the one who let the cat out of the bag. But you’re too smart for me to outfox, so now you know. And because you guessed and I didn’t tell you, I’ll tell you now that I know everything.”

“[Expletive.] Fine. Tell your sister to be at the bowling alley no later than eight p.m. Kimberly only has that party room until 10.”

Check and mate.

So you, dear reader, can try to get me to sing all you want. You can e-mail me and try to pull the old end-around like I did on ol’ Gavin. Or you can try to go through the other editors -- you know, tell them I sent you and all that. Or you can try to get the answer out of our flight attendants, like Sherry Cartwright, who flies the DFW to ORD route. She and I spoke. You might even put the pressure on my man Chris Warhurst, a systems engineer with Redback who’s logged enough AAdvantage miles to fly from Fresno to Neptune. Yeah, we’ve talked.

You won’t get anywhere, though. Nope. My people are tight-lipped. And I know all the old-school tricks. So you’ll just have to wait and be surprised. (But here’s a hint: Subtle changes will start on the first of the New Year, changes that were made with you, dear reader, in mind.)

To be continued …


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Adam Pitluk

Send Adam your stories from the skies. He can be reached at adam.pitluk@aapubs.com.