National Absurdity Day

This is a day to be zany and do silly things as if we need a specified day. History is full of examples of human absurdity. For example, in 1913, when the U.S. postal service launched, children falling within shipping weight limits could be “mailed” cross-country for as little as 15 cents.

Our states are packed with examples of interestingly bizarre laws. They are apt to make you say, “Duh” or “Huh?”

For instance, billboards are illegal in the state of Hawaii. So, folks get creative, as evidenced by an auto dealer’s gargantuan gorilla atop the building.

Eavesdropping is illegal in Oklahoma.

An Alabama law prohibits driving while blindfolded.

You can’t honk your car horn near a sandwich shop after 9pm in Arkansas.

In Iowa, you may not sell cars or RVs on a Sunday.

In Minnesota muddy tires are considered a public nuisance.

In Indiana, you mustn’t ride your horse faster than 10 mph.

In Rhode Island, it’s illegal to race or test a horse’s speed on a public highway.

In Massachusetts, it’s illegal to tell fortunes without certification, and you must live in the state for at least 1 year before you can apply for a license. Well, at least you can then work. In Pennsylvania, it’s not allowed to pay a fortune teller or psychic. Oregon law took it one step further mandating that no occult arts may be practiced, including “fortune telling, astrology, phrenology, palmistry, clairvoyance, mesmerism, spiritualism, or any other practice generally recognized to be unsound and unscientific.”

As of 2011 in Tennessee, it’s illegal to share your Netflix password, even with someone living under the same roof.

Also in Tennessee, you cannot hold public office if you’ve been in a duel.

In Georgia, it’s illegal to live on a boat for more than 30 days.

A 1973 law in New Hampshire outlawed carrying or picking up seaweed off the beach at night.

In Montana, all live performers must remain onstage.

In Massachusetts, you must sing the National Anthem correctly, without any embellishment or addition of other melodies. (I guess they did not care for Jimi Hendrix.)

In California, it’s illegal to whistle for your lost canary before 7 am.

It’s illegal to hunt on Sundays in Virginia unless you are killing raccoons.

In North Dakota, you need a health department permit to exterminate a pigeon.

In Washington, it’s illegal to kill Bigfoot.

In Missouri, wrestling a bear is banned.

In Kentucky, you may not bring a reptile to church.

It is against the law in Arizona to spit on a public sidewalk or in a park or public building.

As of 1999 in New Jersey, it’s illegal to wear a bullet-proof vest while committing a crime.

In 1931 (repealed in 2010) a West Virginia law banned “lewd and lascivious cohabitation and conduct before marriage.”

A South Carolina law (repealed in 2016) made a man guilty of a misdemeanor if he seduced an unmarried woman using “deception and promise of marriage.”

In Vermont, a woman may not wear fake teeth without her husband’s approval.

In Kentucky, a woman cannot marry the same man four times. (Ummm… Was this an ongoing issue?)

In North Carolina, it’s illegal to hold a meeting while wearing a costume.

And in New York, you must not wear a mask at all, unless you are at a party or a gathering that’s received proper approval.

In Louisiana, sending someone a surprise pizza is considered harassment, warranting a $500 fine.

To prevent traffic jams in Maine, a law prohibits parking in front of Dunkin’ Donuts.

In Georgia, a 1961 proclamation in Gainesville made it illegal to eat fried chicken with a fork.

There will be no sleeping in cheese factories in Wisconsin.

Kansas made it illegal to top a slice of cherry pie with ice cream, but it seems the law was never enforced.

In South Carolina, you can’t play pinball if you are under the age of 18.

In North Carolina, it’s illegal to sell or consume any alcoholic beverage in a room where bingo is being played.

In Minnesota (until 2015), nursing homes and senior centers were limited to just 2 days of bingo per week.

In Maine, dancing is prohibited at establishments that sell alcohol, unless that establishment has been issued a “special amusement permit.”

Okay… all such amusement is welcome on this National Absurdity Day.

Special thanks to USA Today and Good Housekeeping for these delightful tidbits.

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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