I’ve never claimed to have extensive knowledge of U.S. legislation throughout history, but it’s safe to say that I and most people I associate with are law-abiding citizens… or not. As it turns out, every state in this country has at least one wacky legal stipulation that could land residents in hot water if they don’t comply.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
It’s illegal to wear a fake moustache, which causes laughter in church.
Whispering in someone’s ear while he’s moose hunting is prohibited.
Cutting down a cactus may earn you a twenty-five-year prison term.
It’s illegal to mispronounce the name of the state of Arkansas.
You may not eat an orange in your bathtub.
It’s unlawful to lend your vacuum cleaner to your next-door neighbor (in Denver).
A pickle cannot actually be a pickle unless it bounces.
It’s illegal to get married on a dare.
It’s against the law to post a public notice calling someone a coward for refusing to accept a challenge to duel.
If you tie an elephant to a parking meter, you must pay the same parking fee as you would for a vehicle.
It’s illegal to change the clothes on a storefront mannequin unless you draw the shades first.
All residents may be fined for not owning a boat.
A man must not give his sweetheart a box of candy weighing less than fifty pounds.
It’s illegal to take a French poodle to the opera (Chicago).
The value of pi is 4, and not 3.1415.
One-armed piano players must perform for free.
It’s illegal to throw knives at men wearing striped suits (Natoma).
Every citizen is required to take a shower once a year.
Biting someone with your natural teeth constitutes simple assault, but biting someone with your false teeth classifies as aggravated assault.
If you keep your Christmas decorations on display after January 14, you’ll be fined.
It’s against the law to wash or scrub a sink, no matter how dirty it is (Baltimore).
No gorilla is allowed in the backseat of any car.
A woman may not cut her own hair without her husband’s permission.
It’s illegal to paint a sparrow with the intent of selling it as a parakeet (Harper Woods).
Walking a dog without dressing it in diapers is forbidden (Temperance).
Children may buy shotguns in Kansas City, but not toy cap guns.
It’s a felony for a wife to open her husband’s mail.
Bar owners may not sell beer unless they brew a kettle of soup simultaneously.
It’s illegal for men with mustaches to kiss women.
It’s forbidden to sell the clothes you’re wearing to pay off a gambling debt.
It’s against the law for a man to knit during the fishing season.
Females may not appear unshaven in public.
While riding in an elevator, you must talk to no one, fold your hands, and look toward the door.
It’s against the law to sing off-key.
It’s illegal to lie down and fall asleep with your shoes on.
You must honk the horn whenever you pass another car, according to the state’s driver’s education manual.
It’s forbidden to take a bite out of another person’s hamburger.
State law requires dishes to be drip-dried.
It’s illegal to sleep on top of a refrigerator outdoors.
You may not bite off another person’s leg.
If a man promises to marry an unmarried woman, he is required by law to keep his promise.
It is illegal to lie down and fall asleep in a cheese factory.
Selling hollow logs is strictly forbidden.
You may not shoot a buffalo from the second story of a hotel.
It is illegal not to drink milk.
Women must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth.
Tickling a woman is unlawful.
It’s illegal to pretend that one’s parents are wealthy.
If you make fun of someone who does not accept a challenge, you risk a six-month prison sentence.
Unless a customer specifically requests it, margarine may not be substituted for butter in a restaurant.
Unless you have an official permit, you may not take a picture of a rabbit from January to April.
This Court Is Adjourned
Whew! With all this legislation, it’s a wonder we’re not all sharing a prison cell right now. Granted, something tells me the Los Angeles Police Department has bigger fish to fry than popping people who dare to eat oranges while bathing, and that most people who saw me catching some shut-eye on top of a fridge in Pennsylvania wouldn’t call the cops on me, but you never know when you might come across that rare whistle-blower who wants you persecuted to the fullest extent of the law, so it’s probably better to be safe than sorry. The next time I tie up my elephant at a parking meter in Florida, I’ll be sure to bring a pocket full of quarters.
Mace J. Yampolsky is a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist, 625 South Sixth St., Las Vegas, NV 89101; He can be reached at: Phone 702-385-9777 or fax 702-385-300. His website is located at: www.macelaw.com.