Iím Under Arrest for What? Fifty Bizarre U.S. Laws
Annie Tucker Morgan
Iíve never claimed
to have extensive knowledge of U.S. legislation throughout history, but itís safe to say that I and most people I
associate with are law-abiding citizens Ö or not. As it turns out, every state in this country has at least one
wacky legal stipulation that could land residents in hot water if they donít comply. Donít say I didnít warn
Itís illegal to wear a fake
mustache that causes laughter in church.
Whispering in someoneís ear while
heís moose hunting is prohibited.
Cutting down a cactus may earn
you a twenty-five-year prison term.
Itís illegal to mispronounce the
name of the state of Arkansas.
You may not eat an orange in
Itís unlawful to lend your
vacuum cleaner to your next-door neighbor (Denver).
A pickle cannot actually be a
pickle unless it bounces.
Itís illegal to get married on a
Itís against the law to post a public notice calling someone a coward for
refusing to accept a challenge to duel.
If you tie an elephant to a
parking meter, you must pay the same parking fee as you would for a vehicle.
Itís illegal to change the
clothes on a storefront mannequin unless you draw the shades first.
All residents may be fined for not
owning a boat.
A man must not give his sweetheart
a box of candy weighing fewer than fifty pounds.
Itís illegal to take a French
poodle to the opera (Chicago).
The value of pi is 4, and not
One-armed piano players must perform
Itís illegal to throw
knives at men wearing striped suits (Natoma).
Every citizen is required to
take a shower once a year.
Biting someone with your
natural teeth constitutes simple assault, but biting someone with your false teeth classifies as aggravated
If you keep your Christmas
decorations on display after January 14, youíll be fined.
Itís against the law to wash or
scrub a sink, no matter how dirty it is (Baltimore).
No gorilla is allowed in
the backseat of any car.
A woman may not cut her own hair
without her husbandís permission.
Itís illegal to paint a sparrow
with the intent of selling it as a parakeet (Harper Woods).
Walking a dog without
dressing it in diapers is forbidden (Temperance).
Children may buy shotguns in
Kansas City, but not toy cap guns.
Itís a felony for a wife to open
her husbandís mail.
Bar owners may not sell beer
unless they brew a kettle of soup simultaneously.
Itís illegal for men with
mustaches to kiss women.
Itís forbidden to sell the clothes youíre wearing to pay off a
Itís against the law for a man to knit during the fishing
Females may not appear unshaven in
While riding in an elevator, you must talk to no one, fold your hands, and
look toward the door.
Itís against the law to sing
Itís illegal to lie down and fall asleep with your shoes
You must honk the horn whenever you
pass another car, according to the stateís driverís education manual.
Itís forbidden to take a bite
out of another personís hamburger.
State law requires dishes to be
Itís illegal to sleep on top
of a refrigerator outdoors.
You may not bite off another personís leg.
If a man promises to marry
an unmarried woman, he is required by law to keep his promise.
It is illegal to lie down
and fall asleep in a cheese factory.
Selling hollow logs is strictly
You may not shoot a buffalo from
the second story of a hotel.
It is illegal not to drink
Women must obtain written
permission from their husbands to wear false teeth.
Tickling a woman is
Itís illegal to pretend that
oneís parents are wealthy.
If you make fun of someone who does not accept a challenge, you risk a
six-month prison sentence.
Unless a customer specifically
requests it, margarine may not be substituted for butter in a restaurant.
Unless you have an official
permit, you may not take a picture of a rabbit from January to April.
This Court Is Adjourned
Whew! With all
this legislation, itís a wonder weíre not all sharing a prison cell right now. Granted, something tells me the Los
Angeles Police Department has bigger fish to fry than popping people who dare to eat oranges while bathing, and that
most people who saw me catching some shut-eye on top of a fridge in Pennsylvania wouldnít call the cops on me, but
you never know when you might come across that rare whistle-blower who wants you persecuted to the fullest extent of
the law, so itís probably better to be safe than sorry. The next time I tie up my elephant at a parking meter in
Florida, Iíll be sure to bring a pocket full of quarters.
To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
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