Thou Shalt Not Remove Buildings by Writing on Them and Other Strange Laws

11 Sep 2019


There is a proverb that states that the pen is mightier than the sword. And I am sure that many writers would agree with that sentiment. Apparently the state of Maryland feels strongly about it, too. So strongly, in fact, that they seem to think the pen is mighty enough to remove a building, simply by writing on it.

The law actually states that a person may not deface, injure, or remove any fence, gate, railing, porch, building, or other structure upon public land, by writing on it. While it is probably a safe assumption that the law means that vandalizing property with graffiti is illegal, it is definitely an odd way to word it.

As strange as that law sounds, though, it’s not the only unusual law that the state has. In Maryland, it is also illegal to take a lion to the movies, be in a public park while wearing a sleeveless shirt, and use profane language while on the highway.

It seems that the laws in Maryland are tame compared to some of the crazy laws in other states, though.

In Wisconsin, there are some very strict rules and laws regarding margarine and butter substitutes. For example, butter substitutes are not allowed to be served in state prisons, and margarine cannot be substituted for butter in restaurants, unless a customer specifically requests it. Wisconsin’s wacky laws don’t stop at just margarine, though. They, naturally, have several cheese-related laws, too. My personal favorite is the state law that makes it illegal to serve apple pie in restaurants without cheese.

When examining strange state laws, one can’t help but wonder how a specific laws came into effect.

Some laws, such Maryland’s ban on Quakers and witches, are clearly just out-of-date and need to be updated. Others, though, are not so clear. Take Utah’s law against hunting for whales, for example. —Kind of an odd law for a land-locked state, don’t you think?

Both Arizona and Georgia have law against donkeys in bathtubs, and several states outlaw the practice of fishing from a giraffe’s back.

How such laws came to be may be unknown, but we cannot deny that they are entertaining, to say the least. If you want to know more about strange laws in each state, check out

Watercooler Writer 
Ever wonder what writers talk about? Our writers are always sharing something new with each other, from the latest and greatest in apps and technology to grammar rules and the origin of certain words. With our Watercooler Writer series, we have taken our very best finds, and are sharing them with you.

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