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Behind Spirit's April Issue

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Whenever I interview candidates for an editorial job at Southwest’s Spirit magazine, the conversation eventually gets around to the perks: yes, you do get to travel. No, not all the time. Yes, the job is amazingly fun—if we don’t have fun, the readers won’t. Yes, you actually get paid.

Case in point: For a story in this issue, Brad Cope, our executive editor, assigned himself to cover the Oasis of the Seas, the biggest cruise ship ever. It’s standard procedure for an editor to claim it was more work than pleasure. “I’m not the cruising type,” he told his officemates, unconvincingly. He even brought along a copy of Aristotle’s Ethics for his reading pleasure, which some of us thought was coming it a bit high.  He rode a zip line, almost scaled a climbing wall, strolled in “Central Park,” hung out in an elevator bar—and, yes, he had fun. Of course he did.

Sadly, Brad left us this month for another job. No, he did not run off to sea. He now works as a marketing director at a healthcare company. We’ll miss you, Brad.

You’ll want to use this issue to do some cruise planning of your own. In a big package called “Cruise Control,” we name the best cruise lines for particular fun, offer advice from experts, and dole out the stats we’re always so fond of. (Size of the cruise market this year: $26.8 billion.)

Being a New Englander myself, I made sure to balance all that indulgent fun with an essay on the Puritans. Those grim old Yankees knew a secret to living well: Don’t seize opportunities. “Improve” them. That’s how the huckster P.T. Barnum turned a dead whale into a free vacation. (Jobs at Spirit magazine didn’t exist then.)

Okay, more cool numbers, this time from our department appropriately named “The Numbers”:  A baseball contains 330 yards of yarn. America’s priciest cocktail costs $10,000 (a diamond engagement ring lies at the bottom of the glass). The longest word in the dictionary, Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconoisis, contains 45 letters. And a ten-gallon hat holds three quarts.

Man, we’re not just fun. We’re educational.