The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance and Other Real Laws

Kevin Underhill, the very funny lawyer behind Lowering the Bar, a very funny law-blog, has published a book of weird laws through the ages, called The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance and Other Real Laws That Human Beings Have Actually Dreamed Up, Enacted, and Sometimes Even Enforced. It's a genuinely funny and extremely weird tour through the world's dumbest rules, starting with the Babylonians (who had a trial-by-ordeal through which you could prove you weren't guilty by jumping into the river and not drowning) up through the Hittites (who had a whole set of rules about whether it was OK to steal your neighbor's door); the ancient Greeks and Romans (who were allowed to go into their friends' houses to search for their stolen property, provided they did so in nothing but a loincloth, to ensure they didn't plant any goods while searching) and modern times, including the notorious "Pi=3.2" state law.

Humanity's inventiveness in making dumb rules is really boundless. Underhill's snarky commentary brings to life such rules as:

* Ala. § 34-6-7, which forbids secret passages leading from billiard rooms

* Ark. HR Con Res 1016, which sets out the official possessive form of Arkansas (it's "Arkansas's")

* Ga. Code Ann § 43-43A-I, which establishes that a pay toilet is not a coin-operated amusement

* Or. HR Con Res 12, which sets out Oregon's official state microbe (brewer's yeast!)

* Tex. penal code § 43.23(g) which exempts Texas lawmakers from the state's five-device-limit on sex-toys

* Australia's Goods and Services Tax Act § 165-55, which gives tax commissioners the power to "treat a particular event that actually happened as not having happened;" and "Treat a particular event that did not actually happen as having happened" (and a lot more contrafactual goodness)

* Lei No 3.770 of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, which requires cellular phone companies to extend a 50% discount on airtime to stutterers

* German Civil Code §§960-61, 962, 963 and 964, which set out the rules requiring beekeepers to chase after their errant swarms, rules for adjudicating the mingling of swarms chased by more than one beekeeper; and rules for removing your swarming bees from other beekeepers' hives

I laughed a lot reading The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance and I'm considering laminating my copy for long life by the toilet, as it is some of the best short-form humorous reading I've yet encountered.

The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance and Other Real Laws That Human Beings Have Actually Dreamed Up, Enacted, and Sometimes Even Enforced

Notable Replies

    • Tex. penal code § 43.23(g) which exempts Texas lawmakers from the state's five-device-limit on sex-toys

    I presume that the fact that Texas bothered to enact a law setting a limit on the number of sex toys one might own is also in there. Hurrah for the home of the brave and the land of the free.

  1. Glitch says:

    It all goes back to the Battle of The Alamo, when Santa Anna defeated the Texian defenders through the cunning use of dolphin-shaped silicone vibrators and novelty latex fetish wear.

    The Texians' resultant immense and impotent fury, vaguely focused towards Brown People in general (and legitimate regional sovereigns and governments in particular) has lingered ever since.

    To this day, Texans instinctively burst into patriotic song and/or hives when within 300 feet of a dedicated sexual aide, or 50 feet of common household objects that have been improvised into such a role, and have been known to spontaneously combust upon contact with anal beads.

    However, in 1973 during a freak pudding accident at the Capitol Building, it was inadvertantly discovered that Texan Lawmakers possessed a strange supernatural protection from the ill effects of these objects. Believed to be a divine gift from their LORD and savior, Ross Perot, this newfound immunity allowed them to personally begin the process of reverse engineering the foul weapons of their most hated enemy in the hopes of one day turning them against their creators.

    Yet despite their best efforts in the intervening decades, progress has been slow. Without a viable countermeasure to the so-called "Sexican" menace, in recent years Texans have been forced to wall off their border and station armed patrols in a hopeless attempt to stem the tide of coital fluid long enough to complete a working prototype. But with the combined forces of Obamacare and The Homosexual Agenda harassing them on their northern front as well, they may already be too late...


  2. I'm guessing it was so they could have a reference collection of ambiguous-usage objects that fell afoul of the law.

    Or it was a hostile amendment intended to communicate that the legislature could go fuck themselves.

  3. Nothing is ever enough for those assholes.

  4. rimshot

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