A Grin at the End: Breaking the law to flap my jaw

March 2013 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

Carl SampsonBy Carl Sampson

I’m pretty sure I broke the law today.

Yep, I and thousands of other drivers who picked up their cell phones broke a state law against yacking while driving.

Don’t get me wrong.

I fully understand the dangers of driving while talking on the cell phone. I completely agree that everyone in a car should be quiet and listen only to me when driving.

But when the phone rings, I need to answer it.

I try to pull over as fast as I can, but still, I’m pretty sure I might have broken the law against driving while talking on the cell phone.

Several years ago, when the Oregon Legislature passed this law I warned that it will probably be the most ignored law since Hammurabi cooked up his laws back in 1772 B.C.

I said that while Legislators may feel better about making most Oregon drivers law-breakers, it won’t do any good.

When the phone rings, we answer. It could be one of the kids, a wife (or husband) or the lottery confirming that Power Ball win.

Come to think of it, Legislators and Congress have a habit of passing laws that make them feel better but don’t really do much of anything else. To back up my claim I consulted the source of all wisdom and knowledge, the Internet.

Some examples of crazy laws from dumblaws.com and other semi-reliable sources:

In Oklahoma, it is illegal to have a sleeping donkey in your bathtub after 7 p.m. So how is a guy supposed to give his donkey a bath on Saturday night?

In Illinois, state law requires that a man’s female companion shall call him “master” while out on a date. The law does not apply to married couples. Married or not, I don’t see many women obeying this one — ever.

Even other countries have their share of silly laws. In China, you must be intelligent to go to college. That obviously is not the law in the U.S. And I know for a fact it doesn’t apply to college graduates.

Some years ago I lived in Alaska. At one time, it was illegal not to pick up a hitchhiker. I found a great many people breaking this particular law one time when I was hitchhiking and it was 25 below zero.

In Nome, it’s against the law to wander around with bows and arrows. I suppose that’s the anti-Robin Hood ordinance. Or the anti-Katniss ordinance.

In Minnesota — another place I used to live — a person may not cross state lines with a duck on his head. I actually got away with that once.

In Alabama, wrestling bears is illegal. Yeah, but who’s going to arrest the bear?

And, of course we all know about Oregon’s most famous dumb law. That we are not allowed to pump our own gas.

Look, don’t drive and talk on the phone. It’s against the law.

Besides, a Minnesota cop might think you’ve got a duck on your head.

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