I live in a place that draws a lot of tourism, and friends often try to impose themselves on us when visiting. How do I deflect these constant requests without hurting any feelings?
P.B., San Francisco, Calif.
I would muster a constitutional argument against such visits. As one of our nation’s foremost scholars of the Third Amendment (motto: “There’s a Third Amendment?”), I can say with unearned surety that the Founders understood that exasperating houseguests would one day be a plague upon the land, especially the land surrounding San Francisco Bay, in particular the Telegraph Hill and Pacific Heights neighborhoods. (Such geniuses were our Founders that they predicted not only the seizure of California from Mexico in 1846, but the rise of price-gouging San Francisco hotels.) As you undoubtedly recall, the Third Amendment, squeezed in between two other, forgettable amendments, states: “No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.” On the surface, of course, the adoption of the Third Amendment seems to have been spurred by a profound fear of Hessians, who, among other things, refused to pick up after themselves during the occupation of Trenton in the winter of 1776. But an expansive interpretation of the Third Amendment, I believe, provides the justification necessary to refuse quarters to San Francisco–bound freeloaders.
Alternatively, you can tell your friends your house has bedbugs.
What is the difference between eight-grain bread and 14-grain bread?
A.W., Minneapolis, Minn.
I would like Congress to pass a law prohibiting men from inserting metal into any part of their head, with the exception of medical implements such as steel plates and tooth fillings. Can you recommend a legislator who might sponsor such a bill?