By Cheri L. Spicer, Indiana Education Employment Relations Board
Did you know that we are all breaking the law on a regular, hopefully daily, basis? At least I hope we all are. In the state of Indiana, it is illegal to take baths between the months of October and March. Please, I beg you, please break this law and bathe. Do not go months without washing; I promise, mum’s the word.
While spring cleaning recently, I came across a book I bought long ago and never finished reading, “You Can Get Arrested for That,” by Rich Smith. The book tells the story of two British guys who decided to go on a great American crime spree, breaking ridiculous laws they found on dumblaws.com. I had to check this out! This book came out in 2006 and I needed to know what other laws I have been breaking all my life without knowing it.
The book has the laws broken down by state and then by cities where appropriate. I thumbed through until I found it – five pages of dumb Indiana laws. Some of these are so weird I could not even begin to imagine what had to have happened that a law had to be put in place because of it. Here are a few of my favorites from the site:
In Indianapolis, throwing stones or other missiles at birds is illegal unless it is in self-defense. I actually appreciate this law. I have a bit of a fear of birds and this law gives me some comfort to know that if my worst fears come true (think Hitchcock’s “Birds”.) I will be able to protect myself without the fear of being carted off to jail.
In Beech Grove, Indiana it is forbidden to eat watermelon in the park. This means I have been a rebel since I was a little kid. This could very well be my start to my crime spree.
I had previously heard of this South Bend law, which has always intrigued me. It is illegal to make a monkey smoke a cigarette. Are there a lot of cigarette smoking monkeys in northern Indiana?
Please, for the love of all that is illegal, make this Terre Haute law nation-wide! For that matter, world-wide is even better. No one shall spit on the sidewalk in Terre Haute! There is nothing worse than accidently stepping in a loogy. It’s just gross!
You should also be aware that in Gary it is illegal to enter a theater or streetcar within four hours of eating garlic. Apparently you can take a bus or train, go to church, a museum or a bar, but do NOT go to the theater, especially not via streetcar!
There are laws on the books on the exact measurements for hotel sheets? Hotel sheets must be exactly 99 inches long and 81 inches wide. I am sure that tall people are grateful, but who decided that was an appropriate…errr…legal length?
If any of you out there perform a puppet show, wire dancing or tumbling act in the state and receive money for the performance, you could be fined $3 under the Act to Prevent Certain Immoral Practices.
Set up the swear jar now! Anyone 14 or older who profanely curses, damns or swears by the name of God, Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost shall be fined one to three dollars for each offense, with a maximum fine of $10 dollars per day. I know people who are getting a deal with the daily cap on fines for swearing.
Also on the books, “spiteful gossip” and “talking behind a person’s back” are illegal acts. So you’d better be careful the next time you get mad at your boss or co-worker.
This one I know I break more than I can count. It is against the law to pass a horse on the street. Note to self – no more driving around Monument Circle.
My personal favorite and the one I will tease my husband for is that mustaches are illegal if the bearer has a tendency to habitually kiss other humans. Was there an outbreak of mustached men habitually kissing other humans? Did someone’s spouse have them arrested for injury resulting from kissing while mustached? Apparently, you are good if you shave and habitually kiss others, but that mustache is a no no.
I never thought of myself as a criminal, but after finding these laws it seems that I have been on an epic crime spree for many years. I hope our prosecuting attorneys are too busy to investigate me!
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