Mind Candy

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Insane Blue Laws you may be bound to live by – Think twice before biting off a man’s leg, it could get you in trouble!

Posted by mandyf on August 18, 2011

Photograph provided courtesy of the ICTY

Blue laws were enacted to restrict the sale of goods or services on Sunday to pay respect to the Christian sabbath. Many of these laws are things we view today as unconstitutional, inconvenient, or in many cases just plain nuts. They are laws which remain on the books and are thereby legally enforceable even if nobody really takes them seriously. Over time, Blue law became a term that encompassed both those laws to recognize the Christian faith and any law that was out of date.  What follows are some of the more bizarre laws still hanging around that are just kinda fun to laugh at. By the time you finish this I’ll bet you will have asked yourself “what were they thinking?” at least once.

In 2005 Boston Attorney General Thomas Reilly warned grocery stores not to open for business on Thanksgiving day as it violated The common day of rest law which was nearly 400 years old which nobody could remember having ever been enforced in their lifetime. Businesses opened, Reilly’s bluff was called and no action was taken. Also sports fans beware, it is illegal to heckle a player on the field if you are over sixteen years old. Also you cannot serve someone alcohol in your tavern for more than a half hour, at an unreasonable hour, after nine at night, and under no circumstances could you allow them to get drunk.

Rhode Island has some very peculiar offerings also. You may not bite off a man’s leg. Why just the leg? When winter rolls around don’t get caught impersonating a corder of wood. I didn’t know this was a problem, but who knows what those wacky teenagers will do next? Any marriage in which either partner is a lunatic or idiot is null and void! Being an idiot myself, I would have saved a ton during my divorce. My favorite perhaps is that it is illegal to throw pickle juice on a trolley. It’s also just poor form.

Photo by Eva K.

This is illegal - depending on how each piece counts....hmmm

Odd laws aren’t limited to the northeast so for my lovely friends and family in Texas I am sharing a few. If you want to take public office you must first acknowledge a supreme being. The being is your choice, Diana Ross is the Supreme I would acknowledge. If you get hard up for money, and who doesn’t, you may not sell your eyeballs. Possession or sale of the entire Encyclopedia Britannica is outlawed as it contains a beer making recipe, and speaking of beer it is illegal to take more than three sips of the frothy nectar while standing. You may sit, stand back up, and restart the count again indefinitely. It is illegal to own or use more than six sex toys and if you plan to commit a crime you must notify any potential victims of the crime orally or in writing twenty four hours in advance to warn them. The oddest of all may be that if two trains meet at a railroad crossing they must both come to a complete stop and neither may proceed until the other has passed. Read that again and let it sink in. Our forefathers tax dollars at work, folks.

Now jumping to the west coast who better to explore than California where sunshine is guaranteed to the masses. If you get a rainy day I suppose you have the right to sue the state. You may not shoot at any wild game from a moving vehicle except whales. Women may not drive while wearing a housecoat, but they may drive topless according to another law. It’s too bad these folks never saw Seinfeld’s episode regarding good and bad naked. Incidentally it is illegal for a car without a driver to exceed sixty miles per hour.

In the home of my youth North Carolina, possession of a lottery ticket is a two thousand dollar fine so if you get caught with one make sure it’s a big winner. You may not plow a cotton field with an elephant and if you are singing off key while doing so you are in double trouble. Both are illegal. You may only have sex in the missionary position in a bed with the shades drawn, anything else is illegal as is premarital sex, but there is an easy solution to that. If you want to get married go to a hotel and register as man and wife, that is enough to be legally married. Just be sure if you decide to stay in that hotel you have two beds which are two feet apart, any other format is of course illegal.

There are plenty more weird laws out there, enough to fill an entire book, but just to give you a little bonus here are my personal favorites. In Alabama boogers may not be flicked into the wind and putting salt on railroad tracks is punishable by death! Alaska forbids pushing a live Moose out of an airplane. In Arizona donkeys may not sleep in bathtubs, Georgia states they may, and Arkansas extends this ban to alligators. Also Arkansas teachers that bob their hair are not eligible for pay raises. Connecticut requires a pickle must bounce to be legally called a pickle and Georgia prohibits carrying an ice cream cone in your back pocket, but only on Sunday. Florida prohibits farting in public after six P.M. while Idaho prohibits giving your sweetheart a box of candy which weighs less than fifty pounds!

Premarital sex? Go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200

If you think that’s weird try these. Iowa stipulates one armed piano players must play for free. In Maine you may not step out of a plane in flight. Maryland prohibits seducing an unmarried woman? In Mississippi a person with two illegitimate children may face a month in jail, premarital sex is a $500 fine and/or six month prison term, which creates the problem in that a man who becomes aroused in public is breaking the law. In New York women may be topless in public as long as it is not for business purposes which is good because they may not wear body hugging clothing which could lead to a $25 dollar fine for flirting. It is punishable by death to jump off a building.

As you can see there are tons of laws on the books that just don’t make sense. The sad thing is these are a mere fraction, I just hit the really bizarre highlights. Most of these will be on the books another hundred years, most politicians feel it isn’t worth the time or money to repeal them and believe it or not there are special interest groups that want to see them remain active even if absurd and un-enforced. Take these with a grain of salt, just remember to not let that salt fall on a Alabama train track!

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