Dear Reader:

I just moved to Chicago two weeks ago. As I usually do when I move to a new place, I picked up some local publications in order to figure out which I like and which I do not prefer. Also, to decide between writers with whom I generally agree and those with whom I do not. Also, among those writers with whom I generally disagree, I try to distinguish between the ones who write in an intelligent, responsible, logical, and intellectual way and those who write overly opinionated, uninformed garbage.

Your paper falls into the category of publications which I like. Bill Wyman falls into my category of the overly opinionated and uninformed.

Mr. Wyman’s article of August 25, 1995, in his Hitsville column entitled “Jerry Garcia RIP” is reproachable and irresponsible. He starts out by admitting that the source of his information that “Jerry Garcia had been back on heroin for years before his death” is Newsweek magazine. I think that a writer in the music section of an otherwise responsible, free publication should find more reliable sources than ones which will sensationalize any story in order to sell extra copies.

Mr. Wyman has the audacity to write, “An average day for Garcia probably involved rising, shooting up, being wheeled to a concert venue, noodling for three-and-a-half hours, picking up a $1.5 million paycheck, eating a nice meal, having sex with whatever combination of people he wished, and then dropping off into unconsciousness.” PROBABLY???

I wonder on what sources of information Mr. Wyman bases this alleged probability. Probably, he is basing it on the last time that he spent the day with Jerry. Or probably, on the last time he interviewed Jerry. More likely, however, is that he bases it on a combination of the blurb that he read in Newsweek and his own ridiculous cynicism and unfounded animosity towards a person about whom he knows very little.

Along similar lines of reasoning, based on my cynicism and animosity towards a person about whom I know very little, I will now explain what an average day for Mr. Wyman is probably like.

An average day for Mr. Wyman probably involves rising, picking up a copy of a tabloid newsmagazine, choosing a particularly slanderous example of mudslinging, crawling back into his little hole, typing an article on a subject on which he is now so well versed, picking up whatever amount of undeserved compensation that he is paid, watching Hard Copy, having sex with whoever believes his bullshit, and then drifting off into dreams of his own afternoon talk show.

I think that Jerry’s daily activities probably included, among many other things, rising, working for a cause that benefited others, avoiding public places where he would have been mobbed, creating something new and exciting, and making thousands of people happy.

Mr. Wyman and many others need to learn that everybody’s got problems. Nobody needs to be publicly chastised for their problems, especially those who give so much to others, as Jerry did, in spite of their problems.

Ain’t no time to hate,

barely time to wait

Whoa-oh, what I want to know,

Where does the time go?

Justin M. Swartz

N. Seminary