March 23, 2007
The state of Tennessee recently passed a law making it illegal to watch television while driving. I’m guessing there was a real need for this law which is pretty frightening. Can you imagine what people are putting on their insurance forms? "I didn’t mean to run over that guy, but you wouldn’t believe what happened on this week’s episode of Situation: Critical!" I understand that it’s illegal to wear a watch on your ankle in Elizabethtown, Tennessee, and in the entire state farmers are not allowed to buy or sell cotton after dark. It’s also illegal for a barber to use a brush on a customer’s hair, and an 1899 law requires hotels to keep enough rope in the rooms for guests to be able to climb down from their windows in the event of a fire. Remember to check for rope the next time you’re staying in a Tennessee hotel.
Going farther afield it’s illegal to sell soft drinks in barber shops in California, and in Topeka, Kansas wine cannot be served in a teacup. It’s also illegal in Fairbanks, Alaska to give any kind of intoxicating beverage to a moose. In Georgia dentists are legally forbidden from being cruel to patients. In Micronesia men are not allowed to wear neckties. The law specifically states, "Any citizen who chooses to wear a necktie in violation of this act shall be considered an idiot." In Dallas, Texas it’s illegal to have a leaky water faucet. In Bedford, Massachussetts you can’t allow your goats to graze on the sidewalk, and in Taylorville, Illinois you can’t feed your hogs razor blades. All these are perfectly reasonable, sensible laws that I’m sure there was a need for, unlike Tennessee’s ban on watching television while driving. Obviously if you’re watching television while driving you’ve got to plug it in to something, like the power jack that all new cars are made with but that those of us who are of a certain age will remember used to be the pop-out cigarette lighter. I don’t recall any law against those even though waving around a red-hot coil of metal in your car while driving seems like it would be just as dangerous as watching television. For that matter, why not pass a law against sticking your finger in the power jack? Maybe they’re hoping people will. It’ll certainly decrease the number of people driving while watching television.