jack truesdale

Letter From The Editor

Dear Reader,

I last heard the phrase “the deep end” when my dad told me about finding his friend’s daughter motionless at the bottom of a pool. It was a summer afternoon a dozen years ago, and the adults had relaxed their child-watching attention. In the five-minutes-or-fewer that it takes most children to get into trouble, the two-year-old had stumbled into the pool and, unable to swim, sank into the deep end.

The phrase “go off the deep end” doesn’t usually mean sinking. Today we use it to mean going insane. If you think about it literally, it means jumping in and floating where your feet can no longer touch the bottom. It means disconnecting from a foundation or a frame of reference. It means losing your stability, your self-control.

The word “deep” comes from the Old English deop, meaning “profound,” “awful,” or “solemn,” according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. Deop goes back to the Proto-Indo-European root *dheub, the meaning of which grew from “bottom” to “foundation” to “earth” to “world.”

This issue’s stories emerged from our writers following their curiosities and concerns about everyday relationships with people, like Sara’s New Age aunt or a Basque man Ethan spilled beer on. From these foundations, we hope these stories will create a more informed, maybe even caring, world. 

This issue tells of people thrown into the depths of economies, governments, families, and cultures. These people and their circumstances often go unnoticed and unchallenged. In the United States, some people must go to extreme lengths to bring money home to their families, as Ethan Cutler shows us with a story about migrant sheepherders in Colorado, and as Andrew Braverman does with a report on America’s plasma market. Meanwhile, Emma Gonzalez reconciles her dreams of sustainable agriculture with the reality of its motivations in Cuba. Kat Snoddy remembers using dark humor to cope with a family member’s suicide. Montana Bass mixes a personal experience of sexual assault with an analysis of the culture that perpetuates it. 

When we dredge the depths, we find the heaviest stories, the ones that too often go unnoticed. But no matter how dark things may seem, sometimes they end well. At the end of the issue we leave you with Sara Fleming’s hilarious and hopeful (at least relatively) reflections on the Enneagram personality system. 

That two-year-old I started telling you about didn’t end up drowning. My dad pulled her out of the deep end, and she survived. These stories are here in your hands because people took the time to look beneath the surface. I hope you will feel inspired to do the same.


Jackson Truesdale and the Cipher staff

Dumb Idea:

Dumb Idea:

Article by Jackson Truesdale

I had to—wanted to—write an article. If I was to write, I wanted to go full-hog, chasing interviews and information. The first idea: Why is Colorado College expanding? CC is building out into the surrounding neighborhood. I could interview students, administrators, faculty and campus-neighboring residents. It would be great. But I also felt like turning inward, looking at CC and how the institution affects our lives as students. I would try to learn how the CC admission process affects socioeconomic diversity in the student body. Students informally commented on the admission process, on the odious “Admissions,” with general distrust and dissatisfaction. “CC sucks. They’re up to no good.”

Your Friendly Neighborhood Sasquatch

Your Friendly Neighborhood Sasquatch

Article by Rebecca Twinney; art by Caroline Li and Jackson Truesdale

About two miles into the drive up Pikes Peak, there’s an official-looking brown highway sign alerting drivers to the crossing of a looming, hulk-like figure. With legs as thick as its waist and feet larger than its head, it’s unmistakably the infamous Bigfoot.

Underneath the figure reads, “Due to sightings in the area of a creature resembling ‘big foot,’ this sign has been posted for your safety.” 



In the rearview mirror, I saw blood spreading across the white of my left eye. A pretty scarlet—by now I was screaming, yelping maybe. And the pain was increasing. We were 8,000 feet above sea level, and as we gained elevation the pressure inside my terribly blocked sinuses increased as the atmospheric pressure decreased. In my panicking mind, there were two foreseeable outcomes: pressurized air would burst from my eye sockets in a spray of red goo, blinding me forever, or my skull would shatter.

Beyond Bernie

"There has been no successful socialist nation ever!” Shouts ensue. “There hasn’t been a successful capitalist one either!” It’s a Saturday night, 8 o’clock, downtown at the Iron Bird Brewing Company, where the Colorado Springs Socialists are hosting their monthly meetup. I’m sitting between a pack of socialists and a 20-year-old libertarian named Patrick, who came “to learn something.”