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Obsolete Laws

Granddaughter Jackie has forwarded me a list of laws STILL ON THE BOOKS!   Like dust-balls in corners, these laws were made long ago, presumably with some reason in mind, and are currently active.  Theoretically if the authorities wanted to "get you", they could utilize them, although in most cases they'd be laughed out of court if it got that far.  Comments in red are mine or Jackie's.

Florida Laws

  • Women may be fined for falling asleep under a hair dryer, as can the salon owner.   (Guess they could cook their brains...)
  • A special law prohibits unmarried women from parachuting on Sunday or she shall risk arrest, fine, and/or jailing.
  • If an elephant is left tied to a parking meter, the parking fee has to be paid just as it would for a vehicle.  (Ringling Bros. must have been caught trying to park for free?)
  • It is illegal to sing in a public place while attired in a swimsuit.
  • Men may not be seen publicly in any kind of strapless gown.  (Well sure, it would fall off!)
  • Having sexual relations with a porcupine is illegal.  (Ouch.  What spineless legislator thought that one up?)
  • It is illegal to skateboard without a license.
  • When having sex, only the missionary position is legal.  (Not going to touch that one!)
  • You may not fart in a public place after 6 P.M. on Thursdays.  (So eat your beans and cabbage for breakfast on Thursdays, please.  Wait a minute - why just Thursdays?)
  • It is considered an offense to shower naked.  (For some people, that may be true...)
  • You are not allowed to break more than three dishes per day, or chip the edges of more than four cups and/or saucers.   (I would certainly hope not in this house!)
  • Oral sex is illegal.  (No kissing, please!)
  • You may not kiss your wife's breasts.  (What about women other than your wife?)
  • Penalty for horse theft is death by hanging. 


  • Whenever two trains meet at an intersection of said tracks, neither shall proceed until the other has.  (Try to figure out that one!)


  • Putting salt on a railroad track may be punishable by death.

  • It is legal to drive the wrong way down a one-way street if you have a lantern attached to the front of your automobile.  (Note #1)
  • Children of incestuous couples are deemed legitimate.


  • Donkeys cannot sleep in bathtubs.

  • When being attacked by a criminal or burglar, you may only protect yourself with the same weapon that the other person possesses.  (Does that mean you have to take the actual weapon away from the criminal and use it on them?)

  • It is unlawful to refuse a person a glass of water.   (Note #2)


  • A man can legally beat his wife, but not more than once a month.

  • The Arkansas River can rise no higher than to the Main Street bridge in Little Rock. (Odd.  Talk about holding back the forces of nature - "Take that, ole river!")


  • Animals are banned from mating publicly within 1,500 feet of a tavern, school, or place of worship.  (How do they punish the animals? Hee Hee!)

  • No vehicle without a driver may exceed 60 miles per hour (How do they punish the car?)


  • In order for a pickle to officially be considered a pickle, it must bounce. (?????????????????   Do they have official pickle inspector/testers and what do they bounce them off?  Yeeaachh.)


  • No one may carry an ice cream cone in their back pocket if it is Sunday.  (Is that where "sundaes" came from?)


  • Illegal for a man to give his sweetheart a box of candy weighing less than fifty pounds.  (They must like hefty women in Idaho!  Or maybe the candy companies pushed that one through.)


  • You may be arrested for vagrancy if you do not have at least one dollar bill on your person.

  • The English language is not to be spoken. (??????????????)


  • Liquor stores may not sell milk.  (Right.  Somebody might get confused, heaven forbid.)

  • Check forgery can be punished with public flogging up to 100 stripes.

  • You can get out of paying for a dependent's medical care by praying for him/her.  (Bet the medical community loves that one!)

  • Mustaches are illegal if the bearer has a tendency to habitually kiss other humans.

  • The value of Pi is 4, and not 3.1415.....  (What?)

  • It is illegal for a man to be sexually aroused in public.


  • One-armed piano players must perform for free.  (Can't take advantage of the customers with a half-way performance, right?)


  • One could land in jail for up to a year for making a false promise.

  • It is illegal to rob a bank and then shoot at the bank teller with a water pistol.   (Be sure you take along bullets, buddy...we don't want any wet tellers.)


  • Shotguns are required to be taken to church in the event of a Native American attack.


  • It is illegal to go to bed without first having a full bath.  (That would keep you up nights during periods of drought or water main breaks, wouldn't it?)


  • It is illegal to teach others what polygamy is.


  • Seven or more Indians are considered a raiding or war party and it is legal to shoot them. (Mean, hmmm?)


  • It's still "legal" to hang someone for shooting your dog on your property.  (Like to see that stand up in court!)

New Hampshire

  • On Sundays citizens may not relieve themselves while looking up.  (?????????? you've got to be kidding.)

New York

  • The penalty for jumping off a building is death.  (Naturally...)


  • One may not bathe without wearing "suitable clothing," i.e., that which covers one's body from neck to knee.  (Saves doing laundry.)


  • The entire Encyclopedia Britannica is banned in Texas because it contains a formula for making beer at home


  • Birds have the right of way on all highways.  (Road runners? Beep, beep.)

  • No one may have sex in the back of an ambulance if it is responding to an emergency call.  (Party-poopers!)


  • X-rays may not be used to fit shoes.  (Note # 3)

West Virginia

  • Whistling underwater is prohibited.

From Jackie:  "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA  Can you believe some of these!!!  Thought it was pretty stupid and funny.  Hope you enjoy."

Note #1:   Some years back the Miami Herald printed a list of outdated laws.  One states that a motor vehicle cannot drive down Flagler Street  (the main drag that bisects north from south and originates downtown, extending to the Everglades) at night unless someone precedes the vehicle on foot waving a lantern.  I can image traffic tie-ups all the way to Naples if they tried to implement this one!  These and laws similar to those above were presented to the legislature, and they were asked to clean the books.  But as I recall, it was determined it would take several years and a number of special sessions to do it, so they're mostly still theoretically enforceable.

Note #2:  Son Mark moved to Tucson, Arizona over a decade ago.  Shortly after arriving he was walking downtown and began to feel extremely strange.   He went into a business, I believe a hotel, and the person there without a pause just sat him down and gave him water.  It was explained to him that they had to do that with newcomers all the time.  Usually the temperature is so high and it's so dry (except during monsoon season) that it sucks the moisture right out of a body.  They don't even use air conditioners, but instead, something called "swamp coolers".   Mark explained that they work by evaporation alone, and cool fine except during rare rainy spells when it's also hot, and then everyone suffers terribly.  This is one law that actually makes sense and has undoubtedly saved many lives.

Note #3:  Another law left over from a time of ignorance.  When I was young, every shoe store had an x-ray machine.   As I recall, many required a nickel per use.  You tried on your new shoes, stepped up on a platform and stuck your feet under a ledge and you could see your bones and the outline of your shoes.  This presumably helped parents figure out if the shoes fit.  Later the dangers were realized - leukemia and other cancers - and laws were passed in most states banning the machines.  Sorry, Jackie, you had to have been there.  This one also makes sense.

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