I've found it's more fun to attempt to explain the potential origin of these laws, so here's my best guess, happy to oblige:

  • In Tennessee, you are breaking the law if you drive while sleeping. It seems as though this law was simply worded in a strange way. Rather, perhaps it simply parallels the laws typically forbidding things such as driving while under the influence.
  • In Danville, Pennsylvania, all fire hydrants must be checked one hour before all fires.This law has got to be about planned fires, such as those used for training or demolition purposes.
  • In New York City, it’s illegal for a restaurant to call a sandwich a “corned beef sandwich” if it’s made with white bread and mayonnaise. I'm assuming this one has to do with a sort of trademark argument. The corned beef sandwich vendors must have lobbied the legislature to ensure a protection for the distinctive New York deli style dish.
  • In England, it is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the Queen upside down. Placing a flag upside down is an indication of distress, whereas the flag represents the country itself, as a living thing. Thus, placing a stamp of the Queen, the figurehead of the country, upside down portrays similar connotations, and can be considered a potentially inflammatory or otherwise offensive act.

Are there any weird laws that make you wonder where they came from?

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