I don’t know how it works in rest of the world, but here in the U.S. of A. the start of a new year marks the date that new legislation often goes into effect. For instance, on January first Hawaii raised the minimum age to buy or use cigarettes and e-cigs from 18 to 21. Apparently, joining the armed services and risking death by bullets or explosions is a decision 18 year olds are equipped to make, but throwing their hats into the lung cancer ring requires an additional three years of maturity.
In other parts of the country, Texas now allows some firearm owners to carry guns in public as long as they’re holstered. I’m kind of excited about this one because the potential for a gunfight at high noon on a public street just makes Texas seem so much more Texas-y.
Here in California, we followed the examples of West Virginia and Mississippi in becoming just the third state without a personal-belief exemption for parents who don’t want their children vaccinated. Because nothing reflects how enlightened and liberal we are more than aligning ourselves with the deep South.
Speaking of the South, North Carolina now requires doctors to provide the state ultrasound images of fetuses for abortions performed after the 16th week, and explain to the state how a pregnancy threatened the life and health of the mother for pregnancies terminated after the 20th week. Once again, conservative NC demonstrates its belief in a smaller, less intrusive government … unless, of course, the intrusion in question happens to be in some way vagina-related.
As I perused the new laws to determine the activities in which I can no longer engage while in the vicinity of law enforcement, I was disappointed to discover that none of the legislation I was hoping to see appeared on the list. I obviously missed the boat for 2016, so here are 10 laws I’m hoping to get my congressperson to sponsor for 2017:
1. Prohibit the ASPCA from airing commercials featuring abused and abandoned animals, with special penalties for the release of such ads when accompanied by excessively sad music. The potential laws below appear in no specific order; but this one will always be at the top of my list. You might say that these commercials are a pet peeve of mine (See what I did there? Yeah, I’m clever like that …)
2. As long as we’re talking about television commercials, I’d like to see some caps put on the allowable levels of disgustingness …. especially those shown during the hours when people would typically be eating. It doesn’t seem likely that I’m the only one grossed out by the anthropomorphized phlegm ball that is the Mucinex mascot, Zicam’s giant snot monster or Charmin toilet paper’s family of bears and their obsession with skivvy skid marks.
3. Any state or federal laws that would reduce or eliminate a woman’s ability to procure an abortion under the guise of protecting the rights of unborn fetuses, should also include a clause prohibiting male masturbation in order to protect the rights of all the potential babies that are routinely left to die in wadded up tissues and crusty sweat socks. Also, blow jobs … that’s some future-baby cannibalism and we certainly can’t allow that to continue.
4. Make failing to give the thank-you wave or head nod to the driver who allowed you to merge, change lanes or pull out of a driveway a moving violation. Likewise, not expressing some kind of appreciation to the person who holds a door open for you should be a ticket-able offense.
5. The tipping of restaurant servers, cab drivers, hair stylists, etc. will remain optional, but those who refuse to engage in the practice, or who tip below the customary amount, must disclose their non-tipping status prior to accepting or engaging in the service in question.
6. Facebook should be required to suspend the accounts of those who post the following types of status updates:
- Humble bragging, e.g., “Looks like I’ll have to buy a whole new wardrobe since losing all that weight. Ugh! I hate shopping!”
- Thinly veiled bitchiness/assholery, e.g., “I need to get rid of all my fat clothes. If anyone wants anything, let me know before my yard sale this weekend.”
- Comment fishing, e.g., “That’s gonna leave a mark” or “Didn’t see that one coming.”
- Those designed to “find out who my real friends are” and threaten to unfriend anyone who doesn’t leave a comment. This type will be allowed only if the poster follows through on the threat and winnows their friend list down to the six or seven people who actually bothered to comment.
7. Prohibit the sale of smartphones and the development of texting applications with the ability to create group messages.
8. Unless otherwise requested or required, response to any communication must use the same method as that of the person who initiated contact. That is, those who respond to a text message with a phone call, or vise versa, are subject to a fine.
9. Those who use the incorrect there/their/they’re or your/you’re should be placed on a minimum three days of internet restriction.
10. Those who point out the incorrect use of there/their/they’re or your/you’re should be permanently banned from the internet.
I imagine there are other behaviors, situations and practices in desperate need of some government rules, regulations and restrictions, but these few would go a long way toward making life easier and less aggravating. And when I say life, I mean, of course my life.
What laws would make your life better?