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Stress reduction stresses me out

Andrew Gmerek

There have been many times in my past when I’d thought I’d finally learned to control the angry young man segment of my personality.

Age, they say, mellows a person, and since I’m getting a bit older I figured that sooner or later I’d put all my indignant outrage to rest. After years of living in the West, however, I’m beginning to realize that it’s just not going to happen.

It seems that months will cruise by without so much as one explosion, and then, all of a sudden, somebody will do something so moronic all the walls, doors and bars I’ve constructed shatter, and I’m off on another tangent.

Nothing sets my angry young man free faster then when some blank-staring, new age, health-food-eating, do-gooder with a self-proclaimed purpose in life decides the world needs an intervention.

Enter Jeff Peckman, a do-gooder activist with a plan. Because of Mr. Peckman – who, by the way, has in the past held such resume-padding positions as meditation consultant, worldwide nutrition activist and peace seminar teacher – Denver residents will have the unique opportunity to vote on a stress-reduction measure on the November ballet.

If the measure is approved, office workers might be subjected to endless hours of Enja music piped through the sound systems of city buildings, kids in public schools will chow down on stress-reducing snacks and government employees will have ample time to channel their collective energies for peace and tranquility during mass mediation sessions.

As if you don’t already see government mass meditation groups every time you pass by Colorado Department of Transportation workers on the side of the road.

In my opinion, if Mr. Peckman’s brain were any flakier, Tony the Tiger would be endorsing him and his cause instead of a breakfast cereal.

But here’s the scary part. To get his measure on the ballot, Peckman found 2,462 people to sign a petition.

In a state where voters cut out the tourism board tax, effectively crippling a major industry, which in turn cost countless jobs as well as caused the demise of thousands of small businesses, it just doesn’t surprise me that voters are more than willing to consider a ballot issue forcing people to hold hands and sing campfire songs.

It’s certainly a unique way to keep high quality teachers in the classrooms and the state out of bankruptcy court.

Maybe we should all just sprinkle fairy dust on each other and think happy thoughts to solve the state’s problems. Except, of course, that might start the whole same-sex marriage debate and that we know, especially for Republicans, causes even more stress than a budget deficit.

When Peckman’s measure made the ballot, reaction from Denver politicians was mixed. Many reacted as expected; stating bluntly the whole thing is just another waste of taxpayers’ time and money.

They said that with a $70 million budget shortfall, they have good reason to be stressed, and they don’t believe transcendental meditation is going to help.

Other politicians were a bit nicer, verbally patting Peckman on the head and dismissing him like one would an irritating tot.

I, for one, don’t think Peckman should get off that easy.

I say we let him get into politics. In fact, I think we should force him into a political position of our choosing.

I believe the perfect position for Mr. Peckman would be superintendent of Denver Public Schools. I’m sure budget cuts, overworked and underpaid teachers and plenty of resentful and neglected students would bind up even Mr. Peckman’s chakra.

Columnist Andrew Gmerek pens a regular Friday column for the Summit Daily News. We consider it his stress-reduction therapy.


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