Laughable laws still on books

By Helena Rodriguez: Freedom New Mexico

Have you ever thought, “There ought to be a law against that?”

Like when people follow you too closely in their shopping carts at Wal-Mart or when they raise Pittsburgh Steelers flags here in Cowboys Country?

There are no laws against being stupid or annoying, unless you count excessive telemarketing, in which case you have to go through the trouble of subscribing to a “Do Not Call List” to avoid, but which, as I have found, telemarketers can still get around.

Maybe that is a good thing, though. Afterall, many of us, myself included, complain about there being too many laws, especially during tax time, and how these infringe on our personal freedom.

Just recently, a proud Denver Broncos fan — a rather elderly and sweet-looking lady — got this great idea to sound a loud horn every time the Broncos scored a touchdown (please note this was not in Cowboys Country). Well complaining neighbors rained on her parade and she was ordered to stop honking for the Broncos despite her valid rebuttal that her lawn mower sounds louder than the horn.

On the other hand, I do get really annoyed when a car full of rowdies start bumping their jams next to me, arrogantly assuming that we all appreciate the tunes of Fifty Cent.

One man’s music or horns of victory can be another man’s or woman’s migraine headache.

If you still think, though, that “there ought to be a law …,” think twice after reading my list of stupid laws.

Afterall, God only needed 10 laws, or rather, commandments.

My collection of stupid laws began when I came across a CNN.com “Britain’s Most Stupid Laws” story. Some of these stupid British laws state:

• It is illegal to die in the House of Parliament.

• It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp of the British monarch upside down.

• In Liverpool, it is illegal for a woman to be topless, except as a clerk in a tropical fish store.

I then remembered a stupid law still on the books in my former hometown of Abilene, Texas, which states, “It is illegal to idle or loiter anyplace within the corporate limits of the city for the purpose of flirting or mashing.”

Some of these old laws are no longer enforced, but they’re still on the books.

Portales City Clerk Joan Martinez-Terry told me of an old Portales law that had to be rescinded when the Portales Recreation Center was open because the law stated no minors could be in a pool hall.

I surfed and found some other stupid laws in this country. Some are justified because of the obvious circumstances, but some are just ridiculous.

Examples:

• In Connecticut, in order for a pickle to officially be considered a pickle, it must bounce.

• In the state of New York, you need a license to use a clothesline outdoors.

• In Harthahorne City, Okla., it’s unlawful to put any hypnotized person in a display window.

• In Gary, Ind., persons are prohibited from attending a movie house or other theater and from riding a public streetcar within four hours of eating garlic.

• In Nicholas County, W.Va., no member of the clergy is allowed to tell jokes or humorous stories from the pulpit during a church service.

• In Carmel, N.Y., a man cannot go outside while wearing a jacket and pants that do not match.

• In Hartford, Conn., you are not allowed to cross a street while walking on your hands.

• In Baltimore, it’s illegal to throw bales of hay from a second-story window within the city limits. It’s also illegal to take a lion to the movies.

• In Oxford, Ohio, it’s illegal for a woman to strip of her clothing while standing in front of a man’s picture.

• In Carrizozo, it’s forbidden for a female to appear unshaven in public (includes legs and face).

• In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to have more than 16 women live in a house together because that constitutes a brothel. However, up to 120 men can live together without breaking the law.

• In Utah, it is illegal to fish from horseback.