By Franchie Viaud, Staff Writer
You’d be surprised by the laws still in the Massachusetts law books, laws so ridiculous that it makes you wonder who made these regulations necessary in the first place. Here are a few of the most bizarre ones that are still illegal today. According to several of these, every one of us has committed a crime, some before the age of ten.
1. It’s illegal to spit on the sidewalk.
This is just nasty. Should it be illegal? Honestly, no. Would it be nice if people did less of that? Hell yes. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve dodged globs of spit on my way to and from places on a daily basis.
And I’m not talking about the translucent liquid ones that are really just saliva expelled from your mouth. No, I’m talking about thick chunky ones with the consistency of a bag of bricks, the kind with the yolky center pulled from the very bowels of your throat. The sort that screams pestilence if you get it anywhere near your foot. Those are the kind I dodge as if they’re a steamy pile of dog excrement. I mean, if you’re going to do it, pick some uninhabited patch of grass on the edge of the pathway, don’t leave it dead center on the pavement to be turned into slippery, discolored iced mechanisms of death for the unsuspecting Bostonian to slip and fall on.
As you can see, I’ve built up quite the bit of resentment over the years. It’s like littering, except what you’re throwing away isn’t your gum wrapper but bodily fluids. Technically, littering is illegal. But it’s more like a “fake crime.” You know, those things we’re not really “supposed” to do but do them anyway, sort of like jaywalking (please, don’t pretend I’m the only one who does it).
2. Swearing is illegal inside city limits.
I’ve never met a Masshole who hasn’t uttered at least fifty curse words before lunch.
3. Disturbing or interrupting a funeral is illegal.
Isn’t this just common courtesy? I mean, someone’s dead. If you’re not announcing the end of the world or declaring and informing the general public that the president has just been shot, do the polite thing and let a man/woman get buried and let them have their funeral be all about them. I’d like to think that when I die, that some attention-hogging, no-good loud mouth would have the common decency to not interrupt the proceedings of my burial to remark on the inconsistencies of the weather. And if said loud-mouth decides to do just that, it better be a damn good reason. There better be an apocalypse or a meteor crashing down to destroy the planet.
4. It is illegal to scare a pigeon.
You don’t understand. When I was a child, this was how I occupied my time. Scaring pigeons wasn’t just a hobby to me, it was my life’s passion. At just the tender age of four I was committing crime after crime.
5. It’s illegal to give beer to hospital patients.
I should hope so. If a person is in the hospital, I’d imagine he or she is injured or sick in some way and I think the last thing they need is liver damage on top of that. Liquor was probably used in place of anesthetics, because what they had then couldn’t possibly measure up to the beautifully wonderful morphine of today.
7. It’s illegal to show a dog with its ears cut off.
I know I might sound like Satan for what I’m about to say, but I can honestly see why this might be a legitimate law. After all, people come to dog shows to witness the epitome of canine perfection and watch purebred dogs of the highest caliber strut their stuff for pretty ribbons. It seems a little unbecoming to have disfigured dogs showing. Doesn’t this go against the whole pedigree thing? It’s extremely displeasing to the eye, not to mention it’s just a twisted thing to do.
Why? Why would you cut off a dog’s ears? And better yet, why would you think it would be alright to show privileged individuals that you have a depraved propensity towards animal mutilation? Somehow I don’t see that particular owner winning any ribbons.
But I digress. These obscure Massachusetts laws are often met with humor and incredulity — after all, it’s just a tiny bit difficult to take outdated legislature seriously, especially when it outlaws supposed “crimes” we commit on a daily basis. Some of these laws go back to archaic times, and though they’re a part of our history, whether they should be eradicated or not is another question altogether.