1. It is illegal in Tennessee to share your Netflix password.
That's right kids, while you are digging your nails into the couch over anxiety of your next cliffhanging TV series, you can't use your roommate's Netflix to satisfy your craving. Given the gifts of Internet and time to waste, who hasn't looked the other way to catch an episode of Breaking Bad or Mad Men? Just don't be surprised when a SWAT team bashes your apartment doorway to thwart your master scheme for South Park binge-watching. Just kidding, they already took that show down.
2. It is illegal in Tennessee to hold hands with a fellow student.
The Gateway Sexual Activities Bill states that anything that appears as a gateway between students engaging in sexual activity is against the law. In the words of Rep. Mike Stewart, "Gateway sexual activity is so vaguely defined it could be holding hands, hugging, anything that teenagers do like that." After almost three years of going to school in Knoxville, I can say that I have seen many people break this unsung law with perverse boldness. So if you decide to give that heart-warming apple of your eye a hug on campus, make sure she is worth the impending court fees.
3. It is illegal in Tennessee to post images online that cause "emotional distress" "without legitimate purpose."
I don't have to look hard at all to see blatant violations of Section 39-17-308(a) scattered like Crimson Tide tears this year. Aside from the obvious saturation of upsetting, campaign-driven posters popping out from the walks to class accompanied by repugnant yelling, personal distress is exploited almost everyday on the Internet. People always complain about how this or that makes them look fat, or how they got the "wrong side" of their body. There is even an option to "untag" photos that disturb the person being attached to them. And don't even think of leaving your Facebook open in the main room of a fraternity house. Nothing says "emotional distress" like 10 of your friends huddled around your computer with imaginations that would beat out SpongeBob Squarepants in his cardboard box. So maybe next time, when your eyes light up with possibility and your hands are on your friend's status bar, ease the breaks.
4. It is illegal in Tennessee to dare a minor to buy alcohol.
If you are a member of the multitude reading this law and smiling, no further explanation is required to elaborate on the countless abuse of this law. More than half of the students that attend this school are minors, and I don't think little Johnny has any intention on dropping the red solo cup this semester. Who doesn't remember the first time they heard one of their friends claim to fame of stealing a few of their parents' beers from the fridge? It wasn't about getting drunk; it was just about the thrill of doing something your weren't supposed to and getting away with it. Ever since the first bold offender, it has always been a game of daring and dodging. Playing "hey, mister" and taking turns bribing a homeless person may seem cruel, but they boast an undeniable presence. Most of you have probably been persuaded to use a fake that looks nothing like you for laughs, and as I applaud your bold double dog dare, the state of Tennessee does not.
5. It is illegal in Tennessee to use a lasso to catch a fish.
What? Is that even possible? Challenge accepted. While you probably haven't broken this law (and if you have you deserve some kind of medal), I included it to point out the absurdity in some laws that remain in Tennessee legislature. Some of these laws come from a very unique past, where lassoing fish apparently used to be a real problem. The general theme is that most laws are subjective and are there to serve the people, by the people.
While most laws serve important purpose, don't confine yourself to a rule on paper if you have a fish to rope.
Cullen Hamelin is a junior in Chemistry. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.