16 June 2008
There are many laws in our society – some good, some not so. There are laws that protect and punish; laws that deter and encourage in equal measure; there are those that stand as stalwart pillars of civilisation, and there are those that beckon seductively to be broken.
And then there are laws that are just plain fucking stupid.
In Arkansas, it is illegal to carry an ice cream cone on your pocket at any time. In England, topless women may not work in a retail store unless it sells tropical fish.
Whatever the motivation was for these laws to be added to the statutes of their respective nations, I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that despite what you may think, an ice cream cone if wielded proficiently can be, if not a deadly, then certainly a very painful weapon. And purchasing a chain of discount tropical fish superstores is a very elaborate and expensive way to get a look at some boobies. Both these lessons I learned the hard way.
But it doesn’t always have to be that way. There are people who have successfully taken advantage of wacky laws for their own benefit or amusement. One such example is of an Australian university student who discovered that an archaic and overlooked by-law of his particular alma mater stipulated that the university union was obliged to feed and water a student’s horse at the union’s expense. Our plucky young trouble-maker proceeded to obtain a horse which he then studiously (meaning everyday) rode on to the campus and the union was obliged to feed and water the beast while the student attended classes. No doubt this proved to be a frustrating and embarrassing and costly exercise for the school, and a source of great amusement and bon homie amongst the student population.
But the last laugh was yet to be had. No one is more familiar with university by-laws than the university itself, so imagine the dismay and chagrin our plucky hero must have felt when, having completed his degree, he was informed that he had failed the entire course for failing to wear a dress sword to the final exam.