Ah, dumb laws. Every state in the U.S. has them, every state in the U.S. knows they’re nonsensical at best, and yet they stick around because few states bother to repeal them, let alone strictly reinforce them. But the fact is, as quirky, weird, stupid, outlandish, and highly confusing these regulations are, they are still technically the law in these states. Even though they were passed many years ago and no longer make any sense in today’s context, even weirder, you can still get fined or charged with misdemeanors for breaking some of them without having any idea they existed!
Where: Alaska It’s illegal to be drunk while in a bar in Alaska. Yes, a bar. You know, the one place people go specifically to get drunk. People who are already drunk must not “knowingly” enter a bar to drink more either, nor can they remain in the bar where they got drunk in the first place. Basically, you must use your own drunken “judgment” to decide the point at which you’ve had enough and kick yourself out. Laugh all you want, but police still enforce this law. Also illegal in Alaska: viewing moose from an airplane -- or pushing moose out of an airplane for that matter, waking a sleeping bear to take a photo of it, and bringing flamingos into barbershops.
Where: Arkansas Before you make any plans to visit Arkansas, you better practice the proper pronunciation of the state’s name, or you could find yourself in hot water. State code strictly reinforces that “Arkansas” is pronounced one way and one way only -- three syllables with the accent on the first and last syllable, and a silent ‘s’ at the end. They’re having none of your Arkan-sass. Also illegal in Arkansas: keeping alligators in bathtubs, getting a raise as a teacher after bobbing your hair, killing any living creature whatsoever, and honking your horn at a sandwich shop after 9 pm.
Where: Connecticut In Connecticut, a pickle can’t be considered a pickle, nor sold as one, unless it bounces when dropped from the height of one foot in the air. This state regulation was the result of devious pickle packers selling substandard pickles that obviously didn’t bounce. Thus, a new law was born. Also illegal in Connecticut: keeping town records where liquor is sold, biking over 65 mph, walking backward after sunset, crossing the street while walking on your hands, educating dogs, or for a beautician to sing, hum, or whistle while attending to a customer.
Where: Georgia In Gainesville, Georgia, finger-lickin’ chicken is not just a catchy slogan. It’s literally the law. Since 1961, it has been illegal to use utensils to eat fried chicken in the self-proclaimed “poultry capital of the world,” thanks to a publicity stunt that has remained part of the city code to this day. And don’t think they’re too chicken to actually reinforce this cockamamie law nowadays. A tourist was arrested for forking his fried chicken in 2009. Also illegal in Georgia: carrying an ice cream cone in your back pocket on Sundays, using profanity in front of a corpse at a funeral home, and keeping donkeys in bathtubs.
Where: Indiana In Fresh Lick Springs, Indiana, black cats are required by law to wear bells on their collars on Friday the 13th This law was introduced on a Friday the 13th in 1939 in an attempt to quell people’s superstitions about black cats and bad luck during an already stressful time — the start of World War II. Also illegal in Indiana: Receiving money for holding a puppet show, catching a fish with your bare hands, standing in a bar if you’re a man, and carrying a cocktail from the bar to a table.
Where: Maine If you’ve ever considered a gravestone as a potential spot for your ad placement, well, you can forget about it if you find yourself in the town of Wells, Maine. City ordinance forbids it. Also illegal in Maine: stepping out of a plane in that’s flying in the air, having Christmas decorations up after January 14th, strolling down the street playing violin, and selling mercury thermometers.
Where: Maryland Don’t expect to be able to release any of your pent up road rage once you’ve passed the town line into Rockville, Maryland. Profanity is illegal while driving on any street, lane, or highway there, and anyone caught cursing, or swearing faces a $100 fine. How they enforce that is unclear, short of bugging your vehicle, but you will get a misdemeanor charge on your record for your potty mouth. Also illegal in Maryland: growing thistles anywhere in your yard, taking a lion to the cinema, and wearing a sleeveless shirt in a public park.
Where: Minnesota Okay, we understand that it gets a little boring in Minnesota sometimes during those long winters, but oiling up pigs in your living room with the goal of trying to recapture the slippery swine is not the most healthy or productive use of anyone’s time. Apparently, pig greasing was so much of a problem in the state that this ban had to be written into law in 1971. Also illegal in Minnesota: sleeping naked, entering the state wearing a chicken or duck on your head, driving a red car down Lake Street, eating hamburgers on Sundays, and standing around any public building without having a reason to be there.
Where: New York Uncut bagels are normally tax-exempt in New York, but a bagel that has been “altered” in any way, by toasting or adding cream cheese, for example, is suddenly considered taxable and automatically jumps in price by eight cents. Also illegal in New York: talking or looking at anyone while riding an elevator, wearing slippers after 10:00 pm, greeting someone by putting your thumb to your nose and wiggling your fingers, selling raw hamburgers, and eating while swimming in the ocean.
Where: Wyoming The fact this state regulation sounds more like a country music lyric than a law doesn’t make it any less real. Buying any kind of scrap metal or rubber, rags, or paper from someone who is under the influence of alcohol is strictly prohibited in the state. Also illegal in Wyoming: being drunk in a mine, taking pictures of a rabbit between January and April, shooting fish, failing to close a fence, and women standing within five feet of a bar while drinking.
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