Roger Marolt: Roger This | AspenTimes.com

Roger Marolt: Roger This

Roger Marolt
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

There ought to be a law against suggesting there ought to be a law against every little thing that irritates us. I came to this conclusion after paying attention for awhile. Aspenites appear to want to pass legislation in order to ensure that things are perfect. I don’t get that because this solution is only slightly better than suing everyone that bugs you.

It’s hard to ignore how pathetic things have become when it comes to our ability to deal with miniscule inconveniences. There was a letter in the paper last week from a guy who wants to outlaw an airplane. He wasn’t talking about a certain class or size of airplane. He was talking about one particular airplane at Sardy Field. It’s the one with two rear-facing propellers mounted on the back of the fuselage. Do you know which one I’m talking about? I didn’t think so. I doubt anyone else in the city cares about this particular airplane, yet one guy wants to get it outlawed because it’s too noisy for his satisfaction. Look for a petition coming your way soon.

Then there are a few people who have to slow down because there is somebody riding a bicycle on the road and thus they want to regulate (i.e. outlaw) that type of transportation except for on designated bike paths. I mean really, are you in that much of a rush? I admit that I, too, think it’s idiotic to ride bikes on the road when there is an empty bike path directly adjacent and running parallel to said road. I don’t get it, but I also don’t find it a huge deal to wait for an opportunity to safely pass them if they choose to battle traffic just like the cars do. I haven’t been keeping track, but I can’t recall being stuck behind a bicycle on any road for more than, say, about fifteen seconds, at the very most, ever.

Then there is the guy who parked illegally and had to pay a hundred bucks to get his car de-booted. He thinks there should be laws protecting us from the boot man, to presumably make illegally parking in somebody’s personal private parking space more affordable. What the heck? Maybe we should pass a law to make it easier for those who might like to break into your house and sleep on your couch for awhile. It’s a fair warning: There is now at least one person in this town who wants to pass a law against enforcing the law against people who break the law.

Somebody else wants to have an ordinance that all bicycles on the bike paths be equipped with horns or bells. The biggest opportunity with this is that it would provide further incentive for cyclists to ride on the roads encouraging impatient drivers to demand even more rules against cyclists, bells, and whatever else. The second biggest opportunity would be for passing yet more laws requiring riders to use the warning devices. When? How often? How loudly?

The local plastic bag act is more like a symptom of the problem. Nobody can tell you what sense it makes to legislate one kind of plastic bag you use at the grocery store but not another that most people probably use far more of. Think of it: you can stuff assorted fruits and vegetables into half a dozen plastic bags sin-tax-free, but you will be penalized if you want to stuff those six bags filled with food into one bag to carry them home in. Live and let live, people! If a person wants to save the world one plastic bag at a time, they will of their own free will. If they don’t, they’ll go out a buy a Suburban to transport their reusable bags in. You can’t stop them!

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I am afraid that in our little town we live with so many rules and regulations that we don’t even think it’s weird. We want to regulate what motorcycles sound like, at what times and on which days a construction worker can pound with his hammer, where we can park with what kind of car at which times, who or what can drive in the HOV lanes, what types of signs can be in the malls, that Krabloonik dogs are enjoying fulfilling careers, who can write letters to the editors to mention a few and not even begin to discuss the voluminous codes, mandates, and regulations associated with building on free market land, living in deed restricted housing, or tossing water balloons from cordoned-off sections of Main Street at the 4th of July parade.

If we are what we regulate, then we are human begins living freely within the prescribed floor area ratio per section 5B of the amended municipal code. We have become a micro-society of people adept at dealing with rules and inclined towards orthodoxy, which is ironic because it is probably more stressful and requires more patience to live in such restricted conformity, no matter how perfect the result, than it does to deal with the minor irritations that what we are regulating were causing in the first place. If you don’t agree, I am sure you can ban me. Come to think of it, that’s been done before, too.

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