Letters to GW: Tell Us How Golden Words Ruined Your Life
“It was the wild pre-AIDS days of the late 1970s. I was a hot, young environmental sciences prof with a grade-A pornstache and an increasingly sexless marriage. So when this cute young secretary started coming on to me, what the fuck was I supposed to do? It was a groovy time when it started, but around the sixth month I started getting these nagging thoughts about my wife waiting for me at home, preparing meatloaf for us or putting our young son to bed. It came to the point where I couldn’t take it, I didn’t know what to do. I had long been a devoted reader of Golden Words, and when I saw they had an advice column, I knew they could tell me what to do. So I sent in a letter asking for advice, which was printed in their next issue. Not only was the advice useless but they printed my real name! As if that wasn’t bad enough, some wise ass student took it upon himself to let my wife know. She kicked me out, got custody of the kid and I’ve been giving that bitch half my paycheck ever since. Needless, to say, I’ve learned my lesson.” -Douglas C. Alimony, Former Professor
“I was mugged while delivering Golden Words to the Cogro. I was carrying over 3000 dollars, as I always did back then, and that bastard mugger took every cent. Without it I could no longer afford tuition. I’m currently unemployed but I don’t mind, it gives me lots of time to get my rap career off the ground.” -Big Dolla Money Villain, ArtSci ‘14
“We were three weeks deep into the infamous 1983 Jeffery Hall Hostage Crisis. For those who don’t remember, four commerce students took sixteen engineering students hostage from February 16th to March 28th 1983. I was one of those hostages, dubbed by the media as the Jeff Hall 16. By March 9th, we were starving and terrified. Of the original sixteen hostages only five remained. We begged and begged, but our captors showed no mercy. Then our captors threw us the latest issue of Golden Words, told us to hold it up and took our picture. “So they know it’s up to date.” We huddled our emaciated forms around the front page, our sunken eyes gazing solemnly towards the camera. This was a terrible time in my life, a time I do not like to remember, but every time I see a copy of Golden Words, it’s like I’m back there again. That newspaper has been nothing but my nightmare fodder for thirty-five years.” -Bobby Strider, Eng ‘85
“August 12, 2005. I was an up-and comer in a successful cable company. I was making lots of money, I had a beautiful wife and I had an Audi. I was on top of the world. Until that fateful day when my boss called me into his office. I was expecting a raise, that’s not what I got. He dropped a copy of Golden Words from 1998 on his desk. “Do you want to explain this to me?” I felt trapped, but I remained calm, “I’ve never seen that in my life.” He frowned and opened it to the editorial page. “Then who is this?” he said, pointing to my editors’ portrait. A not-so-flattering picture of me at age twenty-one, giving the camera the middle finger. My editorial was entitled “Twelve Fucked Up Alt-Rock Songs to Get You Hard” I felt my heart sink as I met my boss’s disappointed eyes. I tried desperately to save my job but it did no good. He shattered my life with seven words: “We’re gonna have to let you go…” I have never worked again.” -Craig Grover, ArtSci ’98, Golden Words Editor 1997-1998
“I’ve always been terrible at getting my laundry done, ever since I was a little kid. When I was twelve, I left it so late that I ran out of clean socks. I decided to borrow some from my father’s sock drawer. Unfortunately for me, that drawer contained way more than I’d bargained for. There, just sitting at the bottom of the drawer, was a copy of Golden Words. I was shocked. My father read Golden Words? Did that mean he thought about that stuff, like I did? I mean, he must right? But it seemed so wrong somehow. I knew I shouldn’t touch it, but I was twelve and I was curious. I opened it and started to read. It was weird, and it felt wrong, but also, it felt so good. Then my dad walked in, the shame I felt in that moment was astronomical.
DAD: Todd, what are you doing!
ME: I’m sorry, I’m sorry! Dad, I’m so sorry!
DAD: Son, that’s not something you should be reading.
ME: It’s not something I should be reading? What was it doing in your sock drawer, Dad?
DAD: I’m an adult, and I only read it for the colour content!
ME: I’m sure Mom would love to hear about that!
DAD: No! Fuck, for the love of God, Todd, don’t tell your mother!
In retrospect I should have listened to him, but I was just a kid hyped up on anger and shame. I thought about showing my father mercy, but instead I told my mother. None of our lives were quite the same again. The shame and betrayal my mother felt when she heard what Dad had in his drawer tore our family apart. Mom and Dad can barely look at each other now, and I’ve spent the last seven years in and out of therapy. Your newspaper ruined my life.” -Todd Evans, ArtSci ‘20 (Western University), son of Bill Evans, Commerce ‘89