1. In the grocery store, you must open the egg carton and take a look before putting the carton into your basket.

2. After dropping mail into the mailbox, you must open the lid again to make sure it all went down.

3. The four steps of operating a vending machine are 1) insert money, 2) choose purchase, 3) take purchase from drop-down trough, and 4) put your fingers into the coin return slot, just in case.

4. Beginning when a carton of milk is half gone, you must sniff the milk before pouring it.

5. If the milk smells fine, proceed. If it smells sour, you are required to thrust the carton at someone else and say, “Does this smell funny to you?”

6. When a stranger tells you to have a nice day, the law requires you to say, “You too.” No more and no less.

7. When a store cashier asks if you found everything you need, it is against the law to say, “No, I couldn’t find granola with almonds and raisins,” or “Well, I wanted blueberries, but I refuse to pay $7 a pint,” or “Shoot, I just remembered! Dill pickles!” The only legal answer to this question is, “Yes.”

8. People are legally bound to say softly to themselves, “Wed-nes-day,” as a spelling guide while they’re writing the day. They also are required to say, “Feb-ROO-ary” and “Attendance: Will you attend the dance?” as they’re writing those words.

9. Similarly, when asked without warning how many days are in, say, August, the law requires a person to murmur quietly, “Thirty days hath September April, June and November all the rest… 31!” There are no exceptions to this law.

10. A pedestrian who comes upon a chalk hopscotch grid on the sidewalk must hop the grid. Those who are physically unable to hop must both a) make motions that suggest the willingness to hop, though the flesh is weak, and b) reminisce briefly about hopscotch games of the past, including such details as the best kind of marker to use (a nice flat piece of shale is prized by hopscotch players everywhere).

11. When eating an ice cream cone, it is illegal to eat the ice cream exclusively from the top down. You may start there, but you must frequently circle the circumference of the ice cream with the flat of your tongue to forestall drips, even if no drips are detectable. The law on this is quite clear.

12. Runners and cyclists who encounter each other on a public path are legally required to say, “Hey,” or to lift one hand as they pass. No other greeting is permitted, and gestures are limited to the one-hand flap.

13. Sneezing may be accomplished in various ways: tremendous explosions, understated “a-shoos,” in vigorous multiples and so on, but only one sneezing style is illegal and punishable by unwritten law. The sneezer who says, “A-CHOO-a-hooey-hooey-hooey,” as if inflammation in the nasal mucosa resulting in the sudden expiration of air through the nose and mouth comprises the opening measures of a longer public performance should be restrained on the spot. Witnesses are encouraged to assist if the sneezer resists.


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