You try to live your life on the straight and narrow, abiding by the laws and not straying too far from center. But what happens if you leave your Christmas decorations up too long or eat the wrong combination of foods and suddenly find yourself on the wrong side of the law? This country is full of bizarre examples of laws that probably got put on the books with the best of intentions—but are still sitting there. Here is a top ten list of some of the strangest.
10. Who is Supposed to Navigate?
If you are at one with the wild and live in Missouri you may be out of luck when on a road trip. In this state it is illegal to drive around with a bear that is not properly contained with a cage. So, no uncaged bears calling shotgun. If they are caged, however, you should be in the clear. Just make sure you pick a vehicle that has enough clearance or you may have an angry caged bear on your hands, and that makes for some seriously unpleasant stops at the rest areas.
9. The Griswolds Have No Hope
If you are fond of a particularly “old fashioned family” type of Christmas decorating you may not want to make Maine your next home. In Maine it is illegal to have Christmas decorations up past January 14, which means that if you have strung your home with 250 individual strands of lights, you are going to have to start un-stringing before Santa has made his way back up your chimney in order to get everything back into its previous non-cheerful state in time for the deadline. The question is, how early are Christmas lights allowed to go up without being considered up past January 14th?
8. No More 1PRTYBY
New Jersey adds a whole new level of harsh to punishment for those convicted of a DUI. In this state if you are convicted of drunk driving you are never allowed to have personalized plates on your vehicle again. This is going to be especially sad when the owner of that obscure existential literature reference plate dies and you have your chance to grab it—or you park in a big cluster of similar cars and can’t remember your new boring plates.
7. What’s Next? No More Peanut Butter Jelly Time?
You may want to consider a life of crime if you are visiting North Dakota and want to sit back and enjoy a football game with your favorite brew and a crunchy snack. Put down the cold one and resist the snack bowl, because in North Dakota you could get arrested for being served beer and pretzels at the same time. You are either going to need to embrace being a hop-run outlaw or find a new way to enhance those seasonal brews. If prosciutto-wrapped melon or sea salt pita chips just aren’t your thing you may just need to steer clear of this great prairie state all together.
6. Most Fun Quality Control Room Ever
How would you characterize a pickle? You may think that it needs to have spent a certain length of time in brine or should meet specific flavor profile requirements. This sound logical, but what fun is logical when it comes to food quality control? If you want to add a bit of zip to your edibles industry, why not make into law exciting ways to classify food groups? The lawmakers in Connecticut did just that. In Connecticut a pickle is not officially a pickle unless it bounces.
5. Go Float it Off
If you live in Ohio you better hope that your best buddy never goes Mr. Limpet on you. In this state, no matter what the circumstances, it is illegal to get a fish drunk. You can’t even explain that he had a really bad day and seriously needs that Tequila Sunrise. It doesn’t matter why you are trying to comfort your be-gilled friend, if you slip some of the hard stuff to a fish, you could find yourself in some seriously hot water.
4. It Was My Interpretation of Joseph
The next time that you are attending services in Alabama make sure that you leave your fake moustache at home. In that state it is strictly against the law for you to put on a fake moustache that makes people laugh while they are in church. Perhaps if no one thinks it is funny you will be in the clear, but you probably shouldn’t risk it.
3. There Was Lint on Her Sweater…I Swear!
We all have our own way of showing affection, but pay close attention to how you touch a lady in the South or you may find yourself dealing with some legal trouble. If you are visiting the fair commonwealth of Virginia and meet a lovely Southern belle you best be careful she doesn’t giggle when you kiss her hand lest you be accused of tickling her. In the Old Dominion tickling a woman is considered a criminal offense and could land you a stiff fine.
2. Fire Up the Ford, It’s the Great White!
Hunting takes on a whole new meaning when you are dealing with restrictions and special gaming seasons. The hunting laws in Tennessee might just have you giving up your survivalist ways in favor of a life of tofu and alfalfa sprouts, though. That is, of course, if you are fond of shooting game from a moving vehicle. In the Volunteer State you are strictly forbidden from shooting game from a moving vehicle. Unless, of course, your target is a whale. Whales are open game for clandestine attacks from moving vehicles. This is fortuitous considering the abundant oceanfront hunting grounds located in Tennessee.
1. Gluttony is Not for the Grieving
Massachusetts has seen its fair share of tragic events, what with the witch trials and Plymouth and all. This means that there have been plenty of wakes and funerals to get the process into correct legal form. If you are going to be attending a wake in Massachusetts in the role of a mourner make sure that you grab a snack on the way or swig down a protein shake before heading in. In this state it is completely against the law for a mourner to indulge in more than three sandwiches while attending a wake.