Sunday, September 27, 2009

Weird And Wacky Laws

Weird and wacky laws exist out there, no question about it. You can only scratch your head and wonder what the various state legislatures were thinking about when they actually took the time in legislative sessions to pass these strange ideas into law. And to take it a step farther, you can only wonder how some of these laws could possibly be enforced.

Many of these weird and wacky laws have subsequently been taken off the books, however just as many of them are still laws but obviously not being enforced. It would be interesting to know what the penalty would be if convicted of breaking these laws.

Here are ten such laws that caught my attention (and tickled my funny bone).

In TEXAS, an anti-crime law requires criminals to give their victims notice—oral or written—twenty-four hours in advance of the crime they're planning to commit and the nature of that crime.

In WAYNESBORO, VIRGINIA, it was once illegal for a woman to drive a car up Main Street unless her husband walked in front of the car waving a red flag.

In the state of WASHINGTON, it is mandatory for a motorist with criminal intentions to stop at city limits and telephone the local chief of police before entering the town.

In IOWA, one-armed piano players who perform must to it for free.

In ALABAMA, it's illegal to wear a funny fake mustache to church.

In NEW HAMPSHIRE, you may not tap your feet, nod your head or in any way keep time with the music played in a tavern, restaurant or café.

In CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, it is forbidden to fish while sitting on a giraffe's neck.

In FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA, a person can be jailed for wearing a hat while dancing or wearing a hat to an event where dancing is taking place.

In MINNESOTA, no one is allowed to cross the line into the state with a duck on his/her head.

In DENVER, COLORADO, next door neighbors may not lend each other vacuum cleaners.

And here's a bonus offering that truly boggles the mind:
In MICHIGAN, beavers can be fined up to $10,000 per day for building unlicensed dams, according to letter that the state once sent certain beavers in Grand Rapids. This actually happened! After complaints about flooding on neighboring property, the state sent a letter to the land owner ordering him to remove unauthorized wood debris dams. The reply sent by the landowner was widely circulated around the internet as he pointed out that the "wood debris dams" belonged to beavers and he was not responsible for it. Eventually the matter was dropped and it seems unlikely that this would actually happen again. :)

Do any of you have weird laws in your state or country that have long ago outlived their original purpose but are still on the books?


Helen Hardt said...

Hi Samantha -- I live in a suburb of Denver. Luckily, I've never lent my vacuum cleaner to a neighbor, LOL.


Samantha Gentry said...

Helen: Whew!! Apparently that's a good thing. And in the future if you do decide to lend your vacuum to a neighbor, it will need to be one of those "Don't Ask and Don't Tell" situations.

That's one of those laws where you wonder whatever prompted the legislature to pass it and why would they waste their time on something so silly. :)

Mary Ricksen said...

You mean the duck and the giraffe can't go with me in the car to go fishing.
That's horrid!
My vacuum is broken so that's not a problem.
Cool blog Smaantha!

Word Actress said...

I don't know about my sttate (although it's California so it must have SOMETHING weird goin' on that I just don't know about!) I may use the Iowa one in a novel I'm working on, so thanks! Funny post that made me laugh. Thanks! Mary Kennedy Eastham, Author, The Shadow of a Dog I Can't Forget and the upcoming novel, Night Surfing

Samantha Gentry said...

Mary: Well, not exactly true. You can take your duck and giraffe with you in the car when you go fishing, but make sure the duck is NOT sitting on your head and you are NOT sitting on the giraffe's neck! It's all in the details. :)

Samantha Gentry said...

Word Actress/Mary: I have a list of 25 of these weird laws. It was an AOL human interest article. I just checked the list and California isn't on it. However, as someone who has lived most of her life in Southern California, I agree with you about that fact that there surely must be several of these laws still on the books. :)