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4200 FIFTH AVENUE

I BEGIN EACH YEAR THE same way -- with a long New Year's Day walk in, of all places, a cemetery. For years, Homewood Cemetery, at the eastern edge of the city, has made its unused flatlands a vailable for a community garden. In the summer, this is where I spend my evenings along-side other gardeners, hauling water, weeding and hoeing, cursing voracious bean beetles and aphids, and watching the tomatoes and peas, corn and mari golds grow. Now, in this season of stillness, I like to see what my garden looks like. I like to take stock.

Later, back at home, I'll cozy up with a cup of hot tea and write New Year's Resolutions. But I've been thinking about my resolutions earlier this year, as we put this issue of the magazine to bed. You see, in order to make space at my desk, I had to shuf fle the Possible-Stories pile over into the Answer-These-Letters-as-Soon-as-You-Have-a-Minute pile. In doing so, I nudged the Things-I-Hope-Go-Away pile, setting off a slight avalanche. I am, you see, a Piler. In fact, in all the world, there are only two kinds of people: those who file and those who pile.

Now Moses, when he parted the Red Sea, was a Filer. Likewise Noah Webster, Robert Dole, all optometrists, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the Pope. (Jimmy Hoffa was a Rank-and-Filer.) Bill Clinton, on the other hand, is a Piler, as are the Grinch, Einstein, E ve, Jackson Pollack, and God. (God was a tough call. "How do you account for snowflakes," wondered associate editor Mark Collins, (Piler '85, '81). But with God you have to take into account the whole body of work.)

My propensity for piling, though, is not all bad. Park your car in a crowded parking lot and forget to notice the section number, then I'm the person you want to have along. Not to brag, but I can put my hand into the middle of a pile I've been cultivatin g for three years and pull out the magazine circulation figures for a little town in Ohio. The more letters and memos and news-paper clippings and magazines that are within sight, the more secure I feel. The world is as it should be.

Still, there comes a time when all good piles go bad. They slip and slide into muddles. They lose their identity. When that time comes, you must put your good pile out of its misery. You must pitch. And you must (shudder) file away. And so I face the New Year, bravely ready to file. Actually I'm look-ing forward to the end result. A clean and organized office? Naw. To me, it's brand-spanking new floor space--just calling out for fresh piles.

One more word about New Year s resolutions. 1995 promises a whopping 30 percent jump in the cost of paper and substantial hikes in postage, seriously increasing the cost of producing this publication. Our voluntary subscription program, which is detailed on the back cover of this issue, is one way our readers can help us to maintain the high quality of Pitt Magazine in the face of these rising costs. Thanks to all of you who have already chosen this way to show your support for the magazine and the University. (Resolve to act on your voluntary subscription today, and you won't have to worry about whether to file it or pile it.)

Best wishes for a new, productive, and happy year.


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