If you have ever wondered – and who hasn’t – just what our legislators are doing up there in the big city, the answer is "they’re creating laws for us to live by."
Well, we have unearthed a few which are already on the books, but we’d better not hold our breath while we wait for some of them to be enforced or explained.
Here they are in all their ridiculous glory, exposed just to be sure we all know what’s legal and what’s not under certain circumstances and in certain places.
In Detroit, they have a law which prohibits a husband from frowning at his wife – but only on Sundays.
In Salem, West Virginia it is illegal to leave home without knowing where you’re going. (Of course, you’ll probably discover that you can’t get there from here anyway.)
In Kentucky it is illegal for politicians to give away booze on Election Day, so your celebration for electing your candidate will have to wait – apparently until after you’ve had time to think it over (which you should have done in the first place).
In Washington D.C., which may be the only place they’d think of such a thing, they’ve made it illegal to marry your mother-in-law.
Nobody knows or will admit why they passed a law in Huntsville, Alabama that prohibits a person from moving his bed without a permit, and if it’s true that "inquiring minds want to know," let them try to figure out why that law was necessary in the first place.
But the silliness just keeps on coming.
In the community of Paulding, Ohio, it’s legal for a policeman to bite his dog. Legal, yes, but remember that dogs have been known to bite, too.
Chicago, Illinois has made it an infraction of the law for “exceedingly ugly” people to appear in public. To answer your question before you ask, they are not accepting nominations.
Self-control is the order of the day in Stockton, California, which seems to be populated by party-poopers, because they’ve passed a law making it illegal to wiggle while you dance. (Hint: if you want to wiggle-dance, you can always plead innocent and blame a bug in your britches. You just might get away with it.)
If you’re getting the impression that our lawmakers are having a hard time finding something to do, you may be right. However, there’ll always be someone around who’ll try to rain on your parade.
In Michigan, blame the guy who made it illicit to put a skunk in your boss’s desk. (You can console yourself by remembering ‘it’s the thought that counts’).
You might want to point out his error to the knucklehead who decided to make it against the law to explode an atomic bomb in Chico, California, where they’ll levy a $500 fine, which may be unnecessary. After all, after the bomb goes off, who’ll be left to pay?
On the more peaceful side, in Mesquite, Texas, children are prohibited from having “unusual haircuts,” and in Jonesboro, Georgia, it’s against the law to say “Oh, boy,” which possibly allows you to say “Oh, girl” without penalty.
If you have something to celebrate, try doing it in Tempe, Arizona, where you are allowed to drink alcohol in a city park – but only if the park is three acres or larger. There are lots of reasons for this, so take your pick and start the party.
Should you happen to be a funeral director or an undertaker in Nevada, be nice. It’s against the law there to curse in the presence of a dead body.
And just in case you’ve been wondering, in California, don’t be greedy. There, it’s legal to possess one bear gall bladder – but not two.
Well, there you go. You now have no excuse for running afoul of the law, but to stay on the safe side, maybe you’d better check and see if the donkey’s sleeping in the bathtub again, which is illegal in Arizona.
If you insist upon messing around with this stuff and happen to have some time on your hands, you might try to figure out why these laws were passed in the first place – which may take more time than you figured.
(Serves you right for sticking around.)
— Newton Columnist Mike Morton writes weekly for the Kansan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org