Surviving Switzerland

an expat's experiences navigating the land of mountains, cheese and chocolate

Absurdity Will Out

on April 2, 2015

The United States has its share of absurd laws, as I was reminded last week when my husband’s copy of the Fribourg Universitas magazine arrived. The edition was oriented towards the States, and included a handful of gems from old case laws such as:

“In Connecticut pickles must bounce to officially be considered pickles.”

Being just crunchy is no longer sufficient.

It’s not enough that the jar is impossible to open.

“In Oklahoma, it is illegal to make love with an automobile.”


But … but it’s a Corvette!

“In Texas, it’s illegal for children to have unusual haircuts.”


I’m assuming mullets aren’t unusual, but I consider them to be cruel.

And because one good mullet picture deserves another….

You know you love it!

You know you love it!

“In California nobody is allowed to ride a bicycle in a swimming pool.”

My younger brother once rode his bike off a pier into the lake behind our house. I didn’t get a picture of it, unfortunately.

“In Kentucky it’s illegal to paint your lawn red.”

Because then the squirrels will be camouflaged even more.

Because then the squirrels would be camouflaged even more.

“In Missouri (specifically St. Louis) it’s illegal to sit on the curb of any city street and drink beer from a bucket.”


Back yard, yes. Side of the road, no. Go, Missourians!

“In Kansas it’s illegal to serve wine in teacups.”


However, mulled wine in a travel thermos…..

“In Maine it’s unlawful to tickle women under the chin with a feather duster.”

ooooo, feathers!

Bring it closer, closer, yes, closer!

“In Alabama, it’s illegal to have an ice cream cone in you back pocket at all times.”

But a bottle of coke is fine.

However, a bottle of Coke in your back pocket is fine.

The United States is not alone.

Many countries have their share of absurd and unfortunate laws, including Switzerland. But what takes the cake in my opinion is that women were first allowed to vote here only in 1959, and that was in one canton. After that most of the other cantons granted suffrage to women up until 1991, when only Appenzell Innerrhoden was still resisting the feminist movement. In 1991, Bryan Adams was crooning Everything I do, I Do It For You, while men in Appenzell were still denying basic rights to their wives, mothers, sisters and daughters. Because…tradition? The Swiss Federal Court finally broke up the party, saying if women can vote federally, they have to have the right to vote locally.

At about this same time period, public nudity was becoming popular in Appenzell. By 2009, the citizens of the canton decided that the ‘Let It All Hang Out’ party was over, too, and voted to prohibit naked hiking. Henceforth, anyone caught hiking in the buff would have to pay a fine. See all the good things people can accomplish when women are allowed to have their say in government?

What I’ve noticed in the States is that bigots, misogynists, racists and assorted haters of homosexuals and more are pushing an intolerant agenda harder and harder in legislation. As some states move towards legalizing same-sex marriages, others are scrambling to keep it illegal. The last absurd law I’ll visit (States-side still) leaves the realm of humorous. As late as November 2000, there was still an unenforceable ban on interracial marriages in Alabama. My hope is that one day, laws that discriminate against a part of human kind will seem as absurd as the laughable laws above. And with that, I leave two last lovely photos: tumblr_mrlx5rKwAb1riwrryo9_400[1]


Because marriage is about love. Because love is more than a color or gender. Because there is only one human race. Because….human rights.


9 responses to “Absurdity Will Out

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    It’s one thing to have outdated silly laws that nobody knows exist, but it’s another to still be passing laws that allow discrimination (like Indiana just did), isn’t it? Very troubling.

    Wonderful post. Love how you ended it. As for naked hiking, I think I’ll pass. 😉

  2. Well over here in India’s we’ve just had sale and consumption of beef banned in Maharashtra. Punishable by 5 years imprisonment where you are guilty until you can prove you are innocent?!

    I’m just imagining some Texan (or Albertan) aghast with such gosh darn cotton pickin nonsense!

    Laws can be a funny thing in many countries… 😉

  3. hungrydai says:

    Well, Pat, I’m probably the only one but I love that Texas law about unusual haircuts. Many young people have absurd haircuts these days in their desperation to get attention. In the metro yesterday I saw a youngster with lime green hair one side and orange coloured hair the other side. People are going horribly wrong in western societies.

  4. hungrydai says:

    And why on earth would anybody want to hike in the raw? I think people who do that are a bit sick.

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