reactionary legislation

As Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Complexity, however, gets in the way. Anyone can be complex; it takes little skill and even lesser discernment. Complexity, in fact, is reactionary. Instead of being wisely proactive, building simple, effective systems, we react to something that’s happened, wanting to ensure that specific instance never occurs again; we hear it often in the shouts for new laws. That’s complexity. That’s bureaucracy. It doesn’t necessarily solve the issue.

Note some of the complex legislation still on the books in various states and municipalities, crafted by both parties. (Thank you,, for your fun — and indeed quirky research!). Did you know, for example…

  1. In Alabama, you can’t dress up as a priest, nun, rabbi or other member of the clergy for Halloween.
  2. In Alaska, you can’t wake a sleeping bear to take a selfie.
  3. In Arizona, it’s illegal for donkeys to sleep in bathtubs.
  4. Sorry, new parents, but in Arkansas, you cannot name your child “Zabradacka.”
  5. In California, as conservative as they are, animals must not mate within close proximity of taverns, schools or places of worship.
  6. In Colorado in the city of Boulder, no upholstered chairs or couches are allowed on the front porch.
  7. In Connecticut, fascinatingly said this non-aficionado, when dropped from a height of one foot, a real pickle “should bounce.”
  8. In Delaware, you can’t use your car as a picnic facility.
  9. In my great state of Florida, in the town of Oakland (near Orlando), no gossiping, slander or rumor is allowed in the streets. Why? It may breach the peace… shocking).
  10. In Georgia — in their version of Gainesville — it’s illegal to eat fried chicken with anything other than your hands. Sounds odd indeed, but believe it or not, a 91-year old woman was arrested in for this in 2009. Gainesville does like to consider themselves as the poultry capital of the world.
  11. In Hawaii, coins aren’t allowed to be put in your ears.
  12. In Idaho, cannibalism is outlawed (… thank you…).
  13. In Illinois’ Galesburg, people cannot keep a dog in such a way that disturbs others because of their smell. (I know. I’m not one for controlling others, but I kind of like the non-smelly dog idea).
  14. In Indiana, horses have a speed limit on all city streets.
  15. In Iowa, in the city of Mount Vernon, you’re not allowed to throw a brick onto any street, highway, sidewalk, or even public building — that is, without written permission from the city council.
  16. In Kansas, in the city of Derby, you could land you in prison for a month or pay a fine of $500 or both for screeching your tires on the road.
  17. In Kentucky, the use of reptiles in any religious activity is prohibited.
  18. (Oh, my…) In Louisiana, ordering food for someone without their knowledge is considered harassment. Delivering that surprise late night pizza could result in a fine and or imprisonment.
  19. In Maine, at the Biddeford Municipal Airport, it’s illegal to gamble while waiting for your flight.
  20. In Maryland, in Baltimore, people are not allowed to operate a body studio. Nobody seems to know what a body studio is (but alas, the law still exists).
  21. In Massachusetts (in one of those “things that make you go ‘hmmmm’”), it is illegal to sell living fowl under two months of age. However, if you run a business that sells these animals for commercial breeding purposes, such ducklings may be sold or purchased only in quantities of 24 or more before May 1st.
  22. In Michigan, men should not seduce or corrupt unmarried women.
  23. In Minnesota, mosquitoes are declared a public nuisance (… wonder how effective enforcement is).
  24. In Mississippi, you’ll be fined $100 for cursing in public (I’m thinking of a few politicians who should probably never visit).
  25. In Missouri, you are not allowed to fight the bears (due to reports on animal cruelty violations).

Sorry, I know this is only the first 25 of our alphabetized semi-United states, but I had to pause. The complexity makes me shake my head. So does how reactionary our lawmakers can (and still) often be…