Letter: Michigan city makes most annoying mistake ever | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Michigan city makes most annoying mistake ever

Who knew there was a safe zone? Honestly, how many of you folks realized that there was one place on Earth where people weren’t allowed to bother you? Did any of you know about it? Because I had no idea.

Imagine a place where, legally, “no person shall willfully annoy another person.” So all those cretins who irk you all day — all those phone callers people ahead of you in traffic, all those morons who park too close to your car and Kim Kardashian — all those people, they all could be arrested just like you’ve always said they should be. That would be so awesome, wouldn’t it?

Well, guess what: Such a Shangri-La existed, and its name was Grand Rapids, Mich., but sadly after Tuesday, it no longer will be illegal to annoy someone in that fair city.

How annoying is that, by the way? I finally learn of the place that I totally would have moved to only to find that it’s no longer annoying-person free. Oh well. C’est la vie.

Before it’s too late, though, I want to state for the record that I’m With Stupid strongly objects to the removal of the anti-annoying section of the Grand Rapids city code, and I’m With Stupid begs the Grand Rapids City Commission to reconsider the removal and keep willful annoyance illegal.

Unfortunately, despite I’m With Stupid’s considerable political heft, I fear that the city commission already has made up its collective mind and is going to strike the statute on Tuesday. They’ve decided that the wording is too vague and thus unconstitutional, making it nearly impossible to enforce.

I would hope that there was at least a spirited debate on the matter before a judgment was rendered, though. Annoyance is a serious issue, after all, and the public seems pretty evenly divided in its opinion. It seems like at least half of everyone willfully annoys the hell out of me all the time. I’m just going to assume the pro-annoying side had all of the money and bombarded the airwaves with annoying propaganda. That always seems to be the case.

In any event, I think it was a darn good piece of legislation, and my favorite part about it is its age. Normally, I would expect a law like the willfully annoying one to date back to the 1700s or earlier; the one in Grand Rapids is from 1976, when I’m guessing it probably was enacted as a pretext to make hippies get haircuts and make punk kids turn off that disco crap.

What bothers me is that the City Commission apparently thinks of this important matter as routine house cleaning. It has instructed the city attorney to scour the books and find archaic rules, and then they just purge them as a matter of course. This approach, I fear, may come back to haunt them and lead to some unexpected consequences.

For you see, in Grand Rapids, if you’re a motorist, and an officer of the law wishes to pull you over, it’s perfectly legal to keep right on driving. That, obviously, would make an officer of the law who is trying to pull you over extremely annoyed, and when you finally got home and parked and he or she was able to serve you with a ticket, that officer of the law could tack an extra $100 onto your fine for being a jerk.

That money used to pay for services for the underprivileged, but not anymore. Now a bunch of orphans are going to go hungry. I hope you’re happy, City Commission.

This makes no sense to me. Why is Grand Rapids getting rid of such a wonderful law? Banning annoying people is the sort of idea that needs to spread, and I’m not just saying that because the guy who told me a veggie burrito was a sausage burrito this morning should be in prison. I think that if everyone were less annoyed, it would be a huge boon for the economy.

With less annoyance comes less high blood pressure, which, as we’ve all been told, is a major health concern. Less high blood pressure means better health and less money spent on medical care, freeing up billions of dollars to be spent on other goods and services instead of contributing to a new Porsche for your local cardiologist.

So while Grand Rapids may be sanctioning annoyance, I would urge everywhere else to outlaw it. Together we can make the world a less annoying place.

Todd Hartley says, “Thanks for the tip, Loomis! Keep ’em coming.” To read more or leave a comment, please visit http://zerobudget.net.


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