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Are You Listening

I know I’m being heard. Because I have one of those voices, that when I choose to turn it on, it’s impossible not to hear me. So I know my puppy, Ellie, can hear me when I’m telling her to come in after doing her business. But hearing isn’t the same as listening, and as she’s doing her cute jumping twirls, downward dog and various other evasive maneuvers at 4:30 am, she hears me, but she ain’t listening.

 

As I stand out in the cold, with the treat in my outstretched hand and my dog is screwing around I feel frustrated, angry and resigned. Eventually, she’ll get tired of the shenanigans and come back in, but there’s a real chance that she might also see a raccoon down the road and bolt off to catch it. If that were to happen, it’d be my fault. Because, I’m the schmuck who didn’t put her on the leash during the middle-of-the-night bathroom break, and she’s just a puppy.

 

Once we’re back inside my visceral annoyance melts away. But the residual feelings of frustration and resignation linger. She didn’t listen to me. In that moment I was helpless; at her mercy. It’s that tension that keeps me from getting back to sleep right away. That isolating feeling of being ignored.

 

We all do a lot of talking (said the man using his Publisher’s Note platform in his own magazine). We email. We text. We post.  But are we listening? I don’t want this note to be another anti-social media screed. But modern communication technology is all alike in one key way -they act as gateways. You can choose to ignore, delete, right-swipe, unfollow and ghost in an anonymous passive aggressive way. You can respond discourteously in a way that you would never dream of doing if you were speaking face to face, or even over the phone.

 

I get it. We’re so busy and we’re inundated with people speaking at us, not to us. We don’t have the time to really listen - to actively take in and acknowledge everything we hear. We don’t have to always agree, but I think it’s important that we engage with each other more. Disagreement is okay. Information and understanding are the most important currency we carry. Don’t ignore or passively take in what you hear. Listen.

 

And there’s a lot to take in, in this issue of Tonic. The legalization of marijuana is a polarizing  . Feature writer, Michael Murchison provides some valuable context for you to consider (p.25).

Joel Thuna and Claude Gallant want you to know that there are some risk factors for Alzheimer’s Disease that are within your control (p.31) and if you’re considering making your own “sex tape”, Carlyle Jansen has some sage advice to consider before the cameras start rolling (p.28).  As always, if you’d like to engage with me regarding this Publisher’s Note or anything else you’ve read in this issue of Tonic, feel free to contact me (and I’ll promise to engage).