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Op-Ed

Stress reduction

December 31, 2022

There are many ways to reduce stress. Very few are recommended by people trying to sell you things.

Milt Policzer

By Milt Policzer

Courthouse News columnist; racehorse owner and breeder; one of those guys who always got picked last.

Never take advice from someone trying to sell you something.

Case in point: I got an email the other day from Crate & Barrel entitled “6 tips for hosting a stress-free holiday.”

The tips seemed designed to increase stress.

Like this one: “Surprise them with a thoughtful tabletop and layers of texture.”

How is that relaxing? I’d freak out trying to figure out what a layer of texture is supposed to look like.

And then there was “Choose statement glassware, it gives each toast an extra-special feeling.”

I’ve got to have statement glassware? What kind of statement do I need to make? How do I etch them on glasses?

I won’t comment on any more tips. It’s too stressful.

(Irrelevant aside: Why doesn’t Crate & Barrel ever promote their crates and barrels?)

So, as a public service, I will now offer some useful tips for stress-free hosting. (Yes, I know the holidays will be over by the time you read this, but you’ve all got birthdays, showers and Valentine’s Day to worry about.)

Don’t host. This should be obvious but not everyone seems to realize this is an option. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen and go visit someone who likes to cook.

Fail to care. Just because you’ve invited people over doesn’t mean you have to feed them. Simply inform guests that if they wish to consume anything, they can bring it themselves or have it delivered. You’re not running a restaurant.

Offer stimulants and imbibe yourself before the event. I’m not recommending drinking or drug-taking here. That’s way too boring and your party won’t stand out. Instead, try binging on doughnuts. Everyone will be happy — even the vegans — and doughnuts are not simply for eating and eating contests. Think ring-toss challenges and tiny frisbees. This is a wild party.

Use the children. This is what children are for. Have them do all the work. If you don’t have children, get some from your friends or hire child actors and tell them it’s research for a role.

Hire a caterer and rent an Airbnb. There’s no reason you should do anything. In fact, once you’re bored, just go to bed and let the party progress as it will. No one will notice you leaving.

Send out invitations to a party at someone else’s house. Heh, heh, heh.

********

Housing problem. I don’t have any sympathy for sex offenders. Really, I don’t. But sometimes I wonder if anyone knows what to do about them.

I bring this up because of a class action filed recently in federal court in Illinois on behalf of convicted sex offenders who are out on probation. The suit challenged an Illinois law that prevented such persons from living in the same building as other convicted sex offenders.

No sex offender group therapy in the rec room.

The problem, according to the complaint, is that the law “violates the Equal Protection Clause and the Eighth Amendment because it operated to keep persons of limited means incarcerated beyond the time they were sentenced to serve by placing affordable housing off limits to them.”

The named plaintiff, one Tomasz Potkaj, claims he can’t find a place to live because he can’t reside within 500 feet of a playground and he can’t be in the same building as other sex offenders. I think that means there’s either an affordable housing problem in Illinois or an enormous number of sex offenders. Maybe both.

Fair enough. It seems to be a reasonable complaint. But I had to wonder if the wrong class of plaintiffs was suing. Shouldn’t a class of non-sex offenders be suing too?

Think about it. The Illinois law spreads sex offenders widely throughout the community. Wouldn’t it make more sense to keep them together so you know what buildings to avoid?

Maybe the Illinois Legislature wanted every neighborhood to have its own personal sex offender. It’s a diversity thing.

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