|This week, Jinny's column will be written by her daughter, Adele Anderson.
Every so often, I run across a list of bizarre laws, which, for one reason or another, have never been removed from the books. I suspect that they just became irrelevant with the passage of time, were no longer enforced, and faded from memory.
The fact that they just sort of passed into obscurity and were forgotten doesn't surprise me. The fact that they ever existed in the first place is what boggles my mind.
Allow me to demonstrate what I mean
In Devon, CT, it is illegal to walk backwards after sunset. Evidently, it is not illegal to walk backwards before sunset. I can't help wondering why. I mean, if you are walking backwards and can't see where you are going anyway, why does it matter if it's dark outside? Aren't you just as likely to run into a lamppost or a mailbox at noon?
Hartford, CT, has some odd laws. In Hartford, it is illegal to cross the street on your hands. Now, if the City Council felt the need to enact a law on this issue, there must have been a compelling reason. Was there a dangerous hand-walking cult loose in Hartford, crossing streets willy-nilly and frightening the horses? For that matter, was it OK to walk on your hands on the sidewalk so long as you got upright on your feet when you crossed the street?
Hartford has another utterly strange law that baffles me. Apparently, it is illegal to educate your dog. This law is a little vague. Does it mean that if you teach Rover to sit or fetch the local constabulary will bust through your door and cart you off to the big house, or does it mean that you face 20 to life if you send your poodle to Yale? Personally, I think that any pooch with the smarts to get into an Ivy League college deserves a full scholarship.
In New Britain, CT, it is illegal for fire trucks to exceed 25 mph, even when going to a fire. Prudent if your primary goal is to avoid speed related traffic accidents - not so helpful if your house happens to be burning down.
Before you get to thinking that Connecticut should be renamed "The Twilight Zone State", consider these laws in other states:
In Arkansas it is considered illegal to push a live moose out of a moving airplane. It is, however, perfectly acceptable to throw a dead moose out of a parked airplane.
In California, animals are banned from mating publicly within 1,500 feet of a school, place of worship, or tavern. OK, school and church I get - but a tavern? Were they afraid that the less than sober patrons might sell tickets? And who slaps the cuffs on the mutts during their romantic interlude? I bet Yale educated dogs are smart enough to get a room.
In Baldwin Park, CA, it is illegal to ride a bicycle in a swimming pool. Is that even possible?
In Blythe, CA, you are not permitted to wear cowboy boots unless you own at least two cows. Personally, I think that this is a most sensible law, which should be aggressively enforced. Maybe it would cut down on the fake cowboy posers.
In Carmel, women are not permitted to wear high heels while in city limits. I'd like to see them try and stop me. No one comes between me and my Italian pumps.
In Chico, CA, detonating a nuclear device within the city limits results in a $500 fine. This seems a little harsh. After all, it's only one lousy nuclear device.
In Los Angeles, the Mecca of the terminally bizarre, it is illegal for a man to beat his wife with a strap wider than 2 inches without her consent. I guess you don't need her consent to beat her with a 1 inch strap.
It is also illegal to cry on the witness stand. If this were enforced, they would probably require a lot more prisons. Crying on the witness stand is a time honored Hollywood tradition.
In LA, it is illegal to lick a toad. Do they have signs around the city that say, "Toad-lickers will be prosecuted"? For my part, I think that anyone who actually wants to lick a toad should be locked up permanently. Forget due process - just throw the toad-lickers in the slammer and call it good.
In San Francisco, persons classified as "ugly" may not walk down any street. Whoa Nelly
who makes that call? Is this an official classification? Does your driver's license say, "blonde hair, blue eyes, 150 lbs, hideous
It is also illegal in San Francisco to wipe one's car with used underwear. As well it should be. I always use clean underwear.
In the State of Massachusetts, no gorilla is allowed in the back seat of any car. Darn Tootin! Everyone knows that the gorilla should be driving the car.
It is also illegal to use tomatoes in the production of Clam Chowder. Some people are really serious about protecting their regional recipes. The purity of New England Clam Chowder must be preserved at all costs.
In Boston, duels to the death are permitted on the common on Sundays provided that the Governor is present. Good plan, except that it is so darned hard to get a hold of the Governor on his day off.
Last, but not least, there is a law in Newton, MA, which states that all families must be given a hog from the town's mayor. That's it - I'm taking the kids, moving to Newton, and demanding the mayor hand over my pig. The law, after all, is the law.