Surviving Switzerland

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

Absurdity Will Out

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.


Padded walls and the fruits of rigorous research

Most people associate rooms with padded walls and no windows with the words lunatic asylum, funny farm, and possibly Renfield. I, however, dream of having my own small room with padded walls, ceiling and floor, and if I could put in a personal request, I’d like a skylight and for the lock on the door to be on the inside with me.

In this room, besides myself, I would put three items. As all fantasies have rules and regulations, there can only be three things in there with me. I’m assuming that silence does not count as one of those things, because I would definitely have silence: a rare and valuable commodity. I hope I don’t count as an object either, because I would like to bring in a hammock, a pillow and a blanket with me. Every once in a while, I plan on switching out the blanket for a book or my Kindle. But I’d always keep the hammock and the pillow.

This is all for therapeutic reasons, of course. The padded walls to make me feel safe and I kind of like the idea of literally bouncing off the walls and rolling on the floor without it hurting, and the hammock because of the health benefits.

Don’t believe me that hammocks have health benefits? Look no further. The Swiss scientific community has a made a study of them, see this great article. I have no idea who funded that research, but all I can say is, “Money well spent.” Unfortunately, I must have missed the call for volunteers when they needed people to sleep in swaying hammocks, so I’ll just have to reap the benefits of putting it to the test in my little padded room all to myself.

Inspired by the Daily Post




“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” –Mark Twain


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