Sam Venable 

Department of Irony

No Hope for the Red of Neck?It sure is tough to be a redneck these days.

Consider: Legislators in Texas recently approved a measure that makes it a felony to tell fishing lies. And in Coral Gables, Florida, officials are issuing tickets to the owners of pickup trucks.

Well, actually, both situations are a bit more complex than that.

In Texas, they haven’t outlawed those “big one got away” stories often heard in barbershops and general stores. Or campfire recollections about the time you and Uncle Herb hooked Ol’ Mossback and it towed your boat all over the lake.

What they’ve done is outlaw lying in bass tournaments where big money is on the line, along with fish.

Under the new rule, anyone caught cheating in a fishing contest offering a payout of more than $10,000 faces a prison term of two to ten years and thousands of dollars in fines. For smaller tournaments, the violation is listed as a Class A misdemeanor.

The anti-truck ordinance in Florida dates to the early 1960s. It hasn’t been enforced in some time because a Coral Gables resident fought it through the courts—and ultimately lost.

This is a property codes regulation. It forbids the parking of pickups in driveways and on city streets at night. Instead, they gotta be garaged. Fines start at $100 and can run as high as $500.

The fishing law does make some sense—although high-dollar tournaments these days are light-years removed from the cheat factories of old. Between blind drawing for partners, on-board media observers, lie-detector testing, and an overall improvement in the professionalism of this sport, the fraud factor has been greatly reduced.

As for the anti-truck law? Have mercy.

It sure seems strange to me that a $65,000 pickup truck would be considered trashy, and need to be garaged, while a dinged-up, oil-dripping Cadillac can be parked on the street and still make the social registry.

This is yet another reason to live Up Here with the real people rather than Down There among the snoots.

What do you bet they’ve also got a law that says you can’t pee, or shoot deer, off your back porch?

Both of which I’ve done, by the way. So sue me.

Sam Venable is an author, comedic entertainer, and humor columnist for the Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel. His latest book is The Joke’s on YOU! (All I Did Was Clean Out My Files). He may be reached at .