Are college students the source of outdated state laws?

Edward Leonard

In the city of Chicago, it is illegal to go fishing while riding a giraffe — specifically, the neck of a giraffe. If you saddle up, you’re fine, but touch the neck and all of Rod Blagojevich’s fury will rain down on you. The reverse applies in Boise, Idaho. The neck is OK, but the back cannot be touched.

There are some pretty strange laws in this country. Some of them have fair reasoning. In Florida, it’s illegal to hunt alligators with a firearm; a hunter must use traps. This seems off at first, but it’s actually because of how a bullet reacts when it hits a body of water (remember “Mythbusters”?).

Others, like the one above, are quite simply outlandish. Apparently in Bakersfield, Calif., one must use a condom while engaging in intercourse with Satan. But they’re not all sex laws. In fact, there are laws all over the country that everyday citizens should beware of lest they unintentionally cause irreparable damage to society.

It seems that everyone likes to regulate the actions of those handling alligators; in Arkansas, they may not be kept in bathtubs. In Arizona and Georgia, the same applies to donkeys. Anywhere else you wish to rest your ass is fine.

Baldwin Park, Calif., prohibits all bicyclists from entering public swimming pools (as it happens, I have seen this law violated, albeit in a different state).

Connecticut takes pickling very seriously. In order for a pickle to officially be a pickle, that pickle must bounce. The education of dogs is also prohibited in Hartford. PETA, no doubt, is up in arms.

Florida has a few more tricks up its sleeve. All elephants left tied to parking meters must be paid for at the meter as if the animal were a vehicle. Citizens may also want to steer clear of having sex with porcupines. That could get hairy.

Chicago still has more to offer. It is legal (no that’s not a typo) for minors to protest nude in front of city hall as long as they have proper documentation. However, one cannot eat while in a burning building.

Hawaii will not tolerate anyone keeping coins in his or her ears — sleight-of-hand artists beware.

Even Iowa is not safe. Horses in Marshalltown may not eat fire hydrants. This is considered a public safety hazard.

Lions in Baltimore are not allowed to attend movies. They might get upset if the protagonist in a film encounters troubles; and that could disrupt the moviegoing experience for everyone else in the theater.

Massachusetts required all men to take a rifle to church on Sundays. However, they may not use them for hunting because that would be wrong. And bear in mind that gorillas are not to ride in the backseat of a vehicle on the way.

Minnesota has prohibited crossing state lines while using a duck as a hat. The fashion industry mourns while in Excelsior Springs, Mo., “worrying squirrels” is not to be tolerated.

Nebraska has even outlawed whaling, since Nebraska’s whale population has been hunted to next to nothing.

All of these laws are pretty strange; but they become stranger when one asks the question, “Why was this law made?” Most laws are made after someone did something that lawmakers wanted to avoid in the future. This means most of these things happened before these laws were made.

Across the nation we, as college students, have a well-known reputation. We are known for our savvy, but perhaps not for our discretion. We come up with these ideas, some of which might not be as common sense as they initially appeared. A majority of these laws were probably made as a direct result of what someone like me — or even you — did. Who knows? Maybe you could end up being the reason behind a law like these. Dream big. But don’t do anything illegal.