Picture the scene: you’re a bit of a dimwit (by all (one) accounts) and have been done for warring with your neighbours. You have done the classic Hal manoeuvre from Malcolm in the Middle of putting down your own home-made speed bumps, in order to slow down your speeding neighbour. You have also been involved in a bit of fisticuffs with the very same neighbour. So it comes as no surprise that you are slapped with the Queen’s favourite crime deterrent – an ASBO.
But this isn’t any anti-social behaviour order – no, this ASBO is filled with magical pixie dust that makes it able to stop you from doing some truly heinous things. This is an ASBO preventing you from ‘staring at people’. It stops you from ‘engaging in slow hand claps at the actions of others’. It denies you your god-given right to ‘wave objects at people’ or ‘adopt a menacing stance at anyone’. Most importantly of all, though, this ASBO makes it illegal under the terms of the order for you to ‘laugh at anyone’ within your local council’s jurisdiction area.
You have been legally banned from staring, clapping, waving, standing in certain ways and laughing. LAUGHING. You have become another victim of the system, which seeks to hunt down and ban anything and everything that could ever be seen as offensive or insulting towards another person. No longer can you engage in staring competitions with people, sarcastically clap as your friend messes up the most basic of actions or laugh at the very same friend when he follows up his lack of ability with a basic lack of motor functions. You didn’t even fight the law, but the law won.
On one hand, I find this scenario incredibly frightening. I’m not one to shout from the rooftops of ‘political correctness gone mad’ (as I happen to like treating people fairly and eliminating racial epithets from everyday use – call me old fashioned) nor do I honestly fear the increasing control exerted by the state (concerned, yes – fear? No). On the other hand, this is one of the most downright silly and utterly pointless wastes of time imaginable.
As silly as this all may be, for all I know the guy could be a bit of a mentalist, hence the order. He might not be, though, and instead could just be the victim of some batshit insane magistrate’s handing this nonsense out.
Oh, did I forget to mention this is all real?