As technology explodes, populations reproduce, and life options abound, the need for more rules and laws increases. From cell phone use to riding on airplanes, there are more do’s and don’ts than ever before, some for the good of everyone, many just pointless rants of people who need to get a hobby.
But weird laws have abounded since man first put a quill to parchment. Maybe it’s the inherent human desire to create order out of chaos or the result of too many big egos and too few brilliant minds, but be sure to mind your Ps and Qs as you travel round the world lest you end up spending a night or two in the pokey…or at the very least end up paying a fine.
The Breast of Everything
Even if you’ve never seen a skin flick (AKA X- rated film), they’ve been known for featuring voluptuous women since the days of silent films, albeit modern adult films feature actors of all shapes and sizes to please the masses. But in 2010 Australia made it illegal for any woman with a bra cup size of A or smaller to appear in adult films. The reasoning of the Australian Classification Board, prompted by a group called Kids Free 2B Kids, is that flat-chested women in the throes of passion encourage pedophilia. Sounds like job discrimination suits can’t be far behind.
If you’re craving a big Mexican combo platter for dinner and you happen to be in Florida, better not consume it on Thursday. People who pass gas in public after 6 PM on a Thursday in the Sunshine State are subject to a fine for creating a public nuisance. No word on how the cops discern who the guilty party is in a crowd but you can bet they send a rookie in to do the job. And don’t think you can flatulate at will in the rest of the country; a bunch of other states have similar decrees on wind passing.
Stringing People Along
Pennsylvania has the Liberty Bell, Philly cheese steak sandwiches and Hershey’s chocolate but the state doesn’t seem to have much sense of humor. One of the oldest and simplest pranks of attaching a dollar bill to a string and pulling it away when someone tries to snatch it up is against the law there. No word on how many tricksters have been cited for this offense but even one is too many.
Seeing The Light
Screwing a lightbulb into a socket is such a simple task that hundreds of jokes have been built around the concept (how many ______ does it take to change a lightbulb?) but if a bulb burns out in Australia, no one but a licensed electrician can legally change it, a law apparently passed because someone, sometime, somewhere Down Under really “screwed” the job up. If you’re caught, the fine is only $20, much cheaper than hiring a pro to do it, and the offense won’t go on your “permanent” record.
Honky Tonk Hold
One of the most common visual depictions of New York City is masses of cars jamming the streets with angry drivers yelling, flashing insulting hand gestures and honking their car horns. Astonishing that it’s actually illegal in New York City to honk your horn. The fine for using the noisemaker to express your frustration can run as high as $350, so shouting and hand gestures are the best ways to vent.
Fixin’ To Die
Not that Brits regularly hang out in England’s Houses of Parliament but no matter if you’re a resident or just visiting the premises of House of Commons and House of Lords, it’s illegal to die there. The members can’t concentrate on making laws, deciding taxes and analyzing the Government with dead bodies scattered about, so kindly expire elsewhere. The penalty for the offense is unknown…and obviously hard to uphold.
Maybe a luau got out of hand on some warm, tropical evening or possibly Don Ho once roamed the streets of Honolulu belting out Tiny Bubbles late into the night but whatever or whoever the offender was, it’s now illegal to sing loudly after sunset there. If you’re feeling musical under the Hawaiian sky, grab a ukulele and strum a nice little tune you can hum to.
Forget Her Not
For centuries, men all over the world have suffered for committing the crime of forgetting their wives’ birthdays. The punishments range from raging screams to silent treatments, lack of consortium, having to sleep on a sofa and, in some cases, broken marriages. But Samoa takes the offense most serious: a man can be jailed for a night for failing to remember the sacred event.
Walk The Line
A number of years back, alleged experts in child development deemed wheeled baby walkers not only useless tools to teach babies how to walk but also dangerous, presumably because kids can build up a head of speed and fly off porches and down flights of stairs. Parents around the world heeded the warning but in 2007 Canada banned them from import, advertising and sales (both new and used) and if you already owned the lethal product, they advised to “destroy it and throw it away so it cannot be used again.” Geez, overreact much?
Grin and Bear It
Residents of Missouri, the Show-me State, view the nickname as an indicator of practicality and realism in approaching daily life. That approach probably had a great influence in passing the law that it’s illegal there to drive with an uncaged bear in your vehicle. Well, there go the family vacation plans! And everyone knows travelling with a caged bear isn’t even half the fun.
Booty Call Bewilderment
Many people think of Sweden as exceptionally socially progressive…albeit not the adult playground of Amsterdam but a more sophisticated version. But mostly it’s just confusing when it comes to prostitution. It’s illegal to buy services from a prostitute in Sweden even though prostitution is legal there. In other words, you can be arrested for making the purchase but the seller would not be cited for any offense. That kind of convoluted logic is normally reserved for Americans.
Man’s Best Buddy
If you catch your dog perusing Italian travel websites or bidding for airfare to Italy on Priceline in the middle of the night, the pooch may be planning to relocate to Turin, Italy. The law there stipulates that dog owners must walk their canines three times a day or face a fine. Furthermore, dogs can only be walked with their owner on a bicycle if it doesn’t tire the animal out too much.” Now that’s a dog’s life worth envying.