April 2014

Are You Breaking the Law?

Author: Courtney Hampson | Photographer: Mark Staff Photography


^South Carolina:Horses may not be kept in bath tubs.

Welp, I’m one word in and I’ve already broken the law. I am writing this on a Sunday, which constitutes work and is unlawful, according to South Carolina Code of Laws—Sundays, Holidays and Other Special Days—CHAPTER 1. SECTION 53-1-40: Unlawful to work on Sunday.

On the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday, it shall be unlawful for any person to engage in worldly work, labor, business of his ordinary calling or the selling or offering to sell, publicly or privately or by telephone, at retail or at wholesale to the consumer any goods, wares or merchandise or to employ others to engage in work, labor, business or selling or offering to sell any goods, wares or merchandise, excepting work of necessity or charity. Provided, that in Charleston County the foregoing shall not apply to any person who conscientiously believes, because of his religion, that the seventh day of the week ought to be observed as the Sabbath and who actually refrains from secular business or labor on that day.

Ah, don’t fret; there are 16 exceptions to the law. Section 53-1-40 does not apply to the following; The sale of food needs, ice, or soft drinks. The sale of tobacco and related products. The operation of radio or television stations nor to the printing, publication, and distribution of newspapers or weekly magazines, nor to the sale of newspapers, books, and magazines. The operation of public utilities or sales usual or incidental thereto. The transportation by air, land, or water of persons or property, nor to the sale or delivery of heating, cooling, refrigerating, or motor fuels, oils, or gases, or the purchase or installation of repair parts or accessories for immediate use in cases of emergency in connection with motor vehicles, boats, bicycles, aircrafts, or heating, cooling, or refrigerating systems, nor to the cleaning of motor vehicles. The providing of medical services and supplies, nor to the sale of drugs, medicine, hygienic supplies, surgical supplies, and all other services and supplies related thereto. The operation of public lodging or eating places, including food caterers. Janitorial, custodial, and like services. Funeral homes and cemeteries. The sale of novelties, souvenirs, paper products, educational supplies, cameras, film, flash bulbs and cubes, batteries, baby supplies, hosiery and undergarments, flowers, plants, seeds, and shrubs. The sale of art and craft objects at arts or craft exhibitions held pursuant to Section 53-1-10 provided that each art or craft object shown or sold has been designed by and is the original work of artisans present at the exhibition. Exhibition of noncommercial real property and mobile homes. The providing of any service, product, or other thing by means of a mechanical device not requiring the labor of any person. The sale or rental of swimming, fishing, and boating equipment. Any farming operations necessary for the preservation of agricultural commodities. Light bulbs or fluorescent tubes.


Left: In Devon, Texas the law prohibits anyone from making furniture while in the nude.
Right: If you’re a woman, and renting a car in Memphis, Tennessee, be sure you get the extra insurance on the man with the red flag who must accompany you to warn other people that you are on the road.

Damn. Since I am writing for a magazine and not printing it, I presume I will be arrested any moment now. If only I were a traveling a light bulb or undergarment salesman, none of this would matter. I’m now sneaking into my closet with my laptop so that I can finish this story before the authorities are onto me.

Good news for those turning 18 in South Carolina; you are now old enough to play pinball. Yes, in additional to smoking, voting, gambling, and buying porn, you can push a button to send a metal ball through a complicated series of levers for points. Happy birthday to you.

I am writing this (illegally, lest we forget) two days post-Valentine’s, the most loving day in all the land.

Unfortunately, if you had planned to get your freak on for V-Day or any other day, I feel it is my duty to make you aware of the following:

If you were planning a romantic weekend getaway, don’t go to North Carolina, because there it is illegal to pretend you are married in order to share a hotel room. But, good news! In Alabama, you can share the hotel room with a relative, because incestuous marriages are legal. Utah is a little more stringent, whereas it is illegal to marry a first cousin before the age of 65, unless you can prove infertility, in which case feel free to wed your uncle’s kid at 55.

Women do tend to get the short end of the legal stick. Clearly, many of the antiquated statutes passed in the late 1800s and early 1900s were aimed at protecting us gals from less-than-flattering reputations. For example, an old city ordinance in Cleveland, Ohio prohibits women from wearing patent leather shoes in public. The reason? Shiny footwear could afford a nearby gentleman an unintentional peep show. Holla!

If you’re a pantyhose kind of girl, beware. Adjusting your stockings, in public, in Dennison, Texas or Bristol, Tennessee is considered a lewd act and could land you in the state pen for up to 12 months. However, wearing cut-off denim shorts and a hot pink bra under a white T-shirt at a Bristol race is legal? Sweet mercy.


Left: In Pittsburg, Pennsylvaniait is illegal to sleep on a refrigerator outdoors. This man is NOT breaking the law.
Right: According to state law, your hair belongs to your spouse, and you’ll need his permission before you can alter it.

If you were pondering a new do for the spring, and you’re living in Michigan, make sure you check with your husband before heading to the hairstylist. According to state law, your hair belongs to your spouse, and you’ll need his permission before you can alter it. I recently needed my husband’s permission to refinance my house, which I bought, and own, and financed long before I met him. Even more interesting, when my new deed arrived, it read, “Courtney Hampson, a married woman…” Seriously? Dear Representative Bill Herbkersman, let’ discuss.

I travel to Charlotte often for work and have recently learned that, according to city law, you must be swathed in at least 16 yards of fabric before stepping out into public. I wonder how the Hooters City Center Charlotte gets around that legal barrier. If you’re a woman, and renting a car in Memphis, Tennessee, be sure you get the extra insurance on the man with the red flag who must accompany you to warn other people that you are on the road.

In some states, it is not about our lily white virtue but our housecleaning skills. Women can’t sweep dirt under your rugs in Pittsburg. And no one is allowed to sleep on a refrigerator in the Burgh. I have a sneaking suspicion this came about after a Pitt vs. WVU football tailgate gone awry.

In New Jersey, once you are convicted of drunk driving, you may never again have personalized license plates. Okay, but I say personalize them all with “IAMANIDIOT” or “IBELONGINJAIL” or “IALMOSTKILLEDYOU.”

Having just learned that beer and pretzels cannot be served at the same time in any bar or restaurant in North Dakota has immediately struck that state from my list of “must-sees.” How dare they? This is where I draw the line.

Ah, but wait, finally a law that makes perfect sense. In Maine, it is illegal to have Christmas decorations up after January 14. Amen to that! I am starting a petition to have this added to the books in South Carolina. And then I will post copies of the statute all throughout my neighborhood. Oh come on, you know who you are. If you are mowing your lawn, it is time to take down your icicle lights!

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