From the Editor

John Turner

I’m off on one of my periodic trips to Florida, to attend a family reunion and spend Thanksgiving with relatives. So for the next three weeks I’ll probably include observations from the Sunshine State in the HSC. Needless to say, Florida and Vermont are very different places. When I go from one to the other I feel almost as though I’ve slipped into a different form of humanity. It will be particularly interesting to experience a national election in Florida and listen to the reactions there.

I’m writing this in Annapolis, which I think of being in the middle in more ways than one. Coming here, we drive nearly the full length of the New Jersey Turnpike, which is always a fascinating experience. I noticed this time quite a few cars --more than in the past -- going ninety miles an hour or more, cutting in and out of lanes. I’m not sure what’s going on to produce that behavior. Is it nervousness, or a death wish, or contempt for other people, or what? Up until I was past thirty, the thought that I would drive frequently on the New Jersey Turnpike would have been fantastic to me. Life does strange things to us, and certainly not what we think we are planning for.

Noticing the Roy Rogers restaurants at the Turnpike rest stops, I remarked to my wife that probably most of the people who see them now think that Roger Rogers was a man who started restaurants. Fame is fleeting, and the commonplaces for one generation can fade to almost nothing for the next. When I’m driving at night on a major highway I often wonder what it would be like to have suddenly beside me a guy from Samuel Johnson’s time. I say he would be completely bewildered and terrified, but my wife says he would find it merely fascinating. I suppose it would depend on the guy, but that he could figure out how and why the lights were flashing past him strikes me as unlikely.

Things flashing into view, reminds me that we have had to change the way we ask for your comments. We used to have forms for each page, but the spammers have discovered a way to flood such forms with their junk, so that lately we have received hundreds of come-ons for each legitimate comment. It got to be too laborious to open them all, so now we simply supply you a link that will open your own e-mail so that you can send us a message like you would anyone else.

We’ll be back next week with our regular items plus news from Florida.

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Harvard Square Commentary, October 30, 2006