From prohibitions against operating a vehicle while blindfolded to laws prohibiting where and when you may whistle, there are a number of old laws still on the books that make citizens wrinkle their foreheads in wonder and confusion. But it leads one to wonder, however, what exactly led to the creation of laws dictating whistling times? Was whistling such a problem that legislatures felt a push to enact regulations on this sometimes involuntary joyful act? How many people attempt driving while blindfolded? Regardless of what led to their enactment, these bizarre laws and regulations are still on the books. And now they’re here for your enjoyment.
- Bathing. All residents of Barre, Vermont are required to bathe every Saturday night. I’m not sure how this law is enforced or what led to its enactment, but according to this law, everyone should smell refreshingly good for Sunday morning church service.
- Litter at the drive-in. In Louisiana, the statues prohibit the throwing or depositing of any food or beverage upon the premises of any drive-in theater. I guess someone had a bit too much of a good time at the drive-in theater and forgot to clean up after themselves. Or a group of drive-in employees lobbied together against the slobs that patronized their establishment. Either way, if you want to stay within the law, hang on tightly to your popcorn and soda at the drive-in!
- Catching fish while drunk. In Ohio, it is illegal to catch a fish while drunk. Sadly, this takes all the fun out of fishing. What else is there to do while sitting for hours with a fishing pole, waiting for a lazy, stubborn fish to bite? No, I can’t think of anything either. Note to self: don’t fish in Ohio.
- Passing off margarine as real butter. The Iowa legislature totally has my back. They’ve made it illegal to pass off margarine as real butter. Finally, someone understands the disappointment I feel when I order butter on my bread and instead receive a slimy, sweaty yellow gel that is nowhere close to the deliciousness of butter. Thank you, Iowa!
- Persons with venereal disease may not marry. In Nebraska, the Health Code prohibits individuals with venereal disease from getting married. It seems to me that this regulation would be difficult to enforce. Furthermore, it raises the question about what would happen if an already-married individual contracts a venereal disease.
Be careful when traveling. Arm yourself with this important knowledge so that you can be certain to bathe on Saturday night in Barre, Vermont, keep a tight hold on your food and beverage at the drive-in theater in Louisiana, be stone cold sober while fishing in Ohio, enforce your right to eat real butter in Iowa, and remain single if you’re plagued by venereal disease in Nebraska. It has been said that ignorance of the law is no excuse. So now that you’re in the know, travel forward with caution.