Law, as defined by the Black’s Law Dictionary, is “That which is laid down, ordained, or established. It is a rule or method according to which phenomena or actions co-exist or follow each other. Law, in its generic sense, is a body of rules of action or conduct prescribed by controlling authority, and having binding legal force. ”Law is a very serious subject altogether and some of its main functions are to maintain social control, protect public order, resolve disputes, protect certainty of systems, facilitate orderly change, bring out justice in society, outline what the government can do and cannot do etc.
A grave field thought it is, and filled with august personalities, it really is a “bottomless pit” as was described by Dr John Arbuthnot in The History of John Bull. The contents of this “pit” are sometimes of the most unexpected nature. It was bad enough when Mike Tyson bit off Evander Holyfield’s ear (which in itself is an aggravated assault) but charges may have been worse for Mr. Tyson if he bit his opponent’s ear not with his natural teeth, but with dentures. In Louisiana it is only a “simple assault, to bite someone with your natural teeth, but “aggravated assault” to bite with dentures. In England, in 1837, if a man kissed a woman against her will, she could legally bite off his nose (not ear, mind you!). We can only hope that she would have all her natural teeth intact, and not have to resort to dentures, both before and after. In Vermont, for a woman to wear false teeth she first must get written permission from her husband, which won’t be easy, if she’s in the habit of biting off noses.
If this last fact gets the women’s rights activists in a huff- cool down, in Samoa, it’s a crime for a husband to forget his wife’s birthday. What would be an appropriate penalty for such a heinous crime? All plotting wives would find the following information useful- In London, domestic violence is legal as long as it's before 9pm and does not disturb your neighbours. Favouritism for women does not end at birthday presents being mandatory. Again, in the UK, a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants, even in a policeman’s helmet. Would there be any mercy at all for a policeman who had a pregnant wife and, to top it off, forgot her birthday?!
In Massachusetts, it is illegal to go to bed without first having a bath. However, another law prohibits bathing on Sunday. In Athens, Greece, a driver’s licence can be taken away if the driver is thought to be either “poorly dressed” or “unbathed”. Maybe he could be excused if he was “unbathed” on a Monday morning? According to the laws in Milan however, you were free to look (and smell) like something the cat dragged in as long as you wore a bright smile on your face at all times, except if you were attending a funeral or visiting a hospital. Then, and only then, were you legally excused from smiling.
In California, in 1986, Judge Samuel King became so annoyed with jurors who were absent from a case due to a massive rain fall, that he issued a decree which stated "I hereby order that it cease raining by Tuesday." It stopped raining on Tuesday and California suffered a 5 year drought. 5 years latter in 1991, the very same judge then decreed "Rain shall fall in California beginning February 27th." On that same day, California suffered the heaviest rainfall in over ten years. The water cycle should have known better than to mess with a judge’s schedule.
In Oklahoma, you can be arrested for making ugly faces at a dog. Presumably it would hurt the dog’s feelings. Not every place shares Oklahoma’s sensitivity towards the mental state of animals however, because in Wilbur, Washington, it is illegal to ride an ugly donkey. I wonder if it is alright then to make ugly faces at an ugly donkey. Also, what would the legal position of the donkey be? Could it perhaps file a fundamental rights case for being discriminated against based on its looks, or maybe sue for compensation for psychological trauma caused?
Laugh not at the thought of a donkey going to courts because that is exactly what Italy expected a gang of moles to do when it was issued an arrest warrant for damaging crops in 1519. Sadly, the moles never showed up at court. As recently as 1983, in Spain, a German Sheppard was arrested for stealing a woman's handbags. The list is topped however, by Switzerland in 1471, which executed a cockerel after deciding that it was guilty of being “In defiance of natural law” by laying an egg.In New York, the penalty for jumping off a building is death. If a person, who jumped off a building in New York, somehow managed to hang onto his life and make his way to the UK only to die in one of the Houses of Parliament, he would be criminally liable in both countries for, in England, it is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament.
And finally, the UK’s Tax Avoidance Schemes Regulations of 2006 clears up matters by stating that “it is illegal not to tell the taxman anything you don’t want him to know, yet you don’t have to tell him anything you don’t mind him knowing”!