Laws are a great part of any thriving civilization. From doctrines and canons to codes of conduct and legislation, they regulate what we do and attempt to determine, from an objective point of view, what is good and bad…what is correct and what is corrupt. Sometimes, in the course of the legislative process, these ends are not met and we have upon us a new set of laws that do not reflect the original intentions of the writer…or do they? This is part of what we will examine here today, one law at a time. The laws that are so wrong they might just be right. The laws that are so mistaken they sound like philosophy. The laws that make one wonder if, at the time of its creation, the writer was on some sort of hallucinogenic and mind altering drug. Either that, or he/she is about as mentally responsive as a goldfish. Welcome to the world of stupid laws (or loony laws if you want to censor it in accordance to some other law).
We shall commence our travels into the wondrous world of dumb laws with one particularly interesting regulation:
It is illegal to drive a camel on the highway.
Ok, so let’s examine this through various aspects…it’s honestly too hard to understand it by just reading it. We shall look at three words in specific: camel, drive, and highway. The interaction between these is what is causing a great legislative calamity to occur.
First, let’s talk about camels…in
Second is the word drive. I believe the only things one can drive include a motor of some sort. Cars, airplanes, motorbikes, and remote controlled toys are excellent examples of things one can drive. I bid you now to re-read the above list and think of other categories that might include things one “drives”. Was “camel” on that list? I didn’t think so. With the aid of our imaginations, though, we can make this work. Let reality be altered for a second and allow for the creation of a prototype of a camel robot (super real looking because otherwise it wouldn’t work). The freights that were being mailed to
The last bit is the highway. So, assuming we have a super-advanced, drivable robot camel that was freed by a camel burglar from a zoo in
As one can see, this law isn’t quite as loony as one might expect. It is actually possible assuming there is a freight delivering a super-advanced and futuristic camel robot that gets switched with that of a real camel and heads to a zoo in Nevada, where it is subsequently set free by a camel burglar who has forgotten his getaway vehicle and has opted for his motored companion, whom he mounts and drives out of state through a highway.
Next we will be delving into this law:
If two trains meet on the same track, neither shall proceed until the other has passed.
This law, in my opinion, should be preceded by the words “Confucius say,” and forced to be read by Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid. The classic “no stoplight in the intersection” scenario is what can most closely be compared to the setting of this law. My dear reader can relate to this: Two cars drive up to an intersection without stoplights. They both arrive at relatively the same time and both, being courteous, stop the car to allow the other to pass. After what seems like an eternity of hand-waving to each other, both cars accelerate at the same time, notice what the each other is doing, and break suddenly. The cycle is repeated a couple of more times until one driver accepts his superiority and floors it.
Now, trains are incredibly bulky machines and take some time to begin moving forward and a great distance to break. Knowing this, it makes sense that the two drivers would be hesitant to proceed, considering if they try and move, they will likely hit the train opposite them and cause a mass cataclysm. I say this because in my scenario, one is carrying nuclear waste and runs on a powerful fission reactor and the other is moving the world’s most brilliant minds to a convention where they will possibly stop global warming and, at the same time, cure cancer, TB, and HIV/AIDS. Yep, a disaster. Because of this, they will definitely prefer to wave their hands at each other for eternity than attempt to pass.
The problem with my whole amazingly concocted setting is the fact that the two trains are on the same track. This is where it gets tricky. These two trains are stalled on the same track because it is physically impossible for one to proceed, considering the other is blocking the way. One way for one of the trains to pass would be if one would go straight through the other, but this too is highly impractical. Another is if one of them was going fast enough beforehand to derail and overtake the other train, quickly jumping back on the rails after the aforementioned had passed. I won’t even comment on the second alternative, I will simply eliminate it. It was dumb of me to even mention it.
How is it possible that such a philosophical conundrum be passed as legislation? One example might be that the writer had somehow tripped (accidentally of course) and landed on a hypodermic needle containing a mix of LSD and “shrooms”, causing him to see the world in a distorted fashion. This probably permanent trip (considering the drugs involved…I wouldn’t try this) acted as a gateway into a new world. Off in the distance he saw what appeared to be a lighthouse. It was shaped like a phallic organ. I won’t go into that though, seeing as it is awkward and irrelevant. It was the penile glow of ultimate enlightenment. Confucius then manifested himself. To be quite honest, he smelled a bit (having been dead for centuries), but the future drafter of the legislation managed to ask him for a word of advice. Confucius whispered the future legislation and raised his hands as he closed his eyes, imparting these words of wisdom. The future writer then passed out because of the horrible stench, returning from his seemingly “permanent” trip.
Thus, he wrote it down. The bill passed. Without an explanation, it became a conundrum. Among the ranks of dumb things that people read, shrug, and soon forget because they have better things to do. First came the egg, then came the sound of the tree in the forest, soon the water filled half of the cup, the immovable object and the unstoppable force called a truce and admitted (with inherent existentialism) that neither can logically exist together, and then the two trains remained stalled for eternity…good job Confucius.
And lastly, from the great south cometh this legislation:
Criminals must give their victims 24 hours notice, oral or written, outlining the crime to be committed.
Some might say, “Bah, Humbug!” but I say yes! This is an excellent crime deterrent. It will make the would-be bad guys confess their future plots of destruction to the very victims. One has to acknowledge, though, that many things would come to light because of this. Firstly, it will probably come as a shock to the victim. Here is a great example in script form (hint hint Steven Spielberg):
[knocks on door and a man answers] Hey Albert.
Hey, man! What brings you over?
Well…you know how we’ve been friends and neighbors for as long as I can remember?
Well…I just wanted to put out there that…um…your wife. She’s very hot. And I've also heard how she has a lot of jewelry and you keep your safe in your living room behind the big painting. So…in about 24 hours I’ll be breaking in, stealing everything, raping your wife, and eliminating all the witnesses. Yes, I do watch a lot of Law & Order. Just thought you should know.
The look on hypothetical Albert’s face must have been priceless. His long-time neighbor and supposed friend turned on him. You know what they say…most victims know their assailants (thanks crime TV!). What would be even more surprising is if the victim would allow it…as follows:
Well, quite frankly, I must admit I didn’t see this coming. But…as you are officially not committing an unlawful act, would you like to come in for some beers?
What I believe this law is for, though, is to make the criminals face their crimes before they commit them. By listing their actions, the awful act that they are hours away from committing will dawn upon them. Maybe, when the would-be thief uttered the last phrase of his outline, he realized what he was doing. Like many people without a job in this time of crisis, he decided that he needed a change. This revelation allowed him to opt to return to college. After four years and many scholarships, he became a doctor. His criminal thoughts abandoned him as he substituted breaking into houses with inoculating people, stealing with removing harmful stage 2 cancerous tissue, raping with aiding in the birth process, and killing with helping to care for people in a vegetative state, giving hope to the families. Thanks to this law, the would-be thief became a man of prowess in his field that could help humanity. His next goal—finding a universal vaccine that will rid the world of disease. Marvelous.
As it has been demonstrated, it is possible to drive a camel in the highway, be stuck eternally in a train, or commit crime legally if one tries hard enough. The laws presented are not hoaxes. They are actual regulations. Now, whether or not they are actually followed is a different story altogether. The only thing that is for certain is that these laws are prevalent in all parts of the world and allow for laughter in all. I'm pretty sure that is what they were intended to do. So, next time you spot a pregnant woman urinating in a police officer’s hat in the