Nicole Polizzi, known to the world that I apparently do not occupy as “Snooki” from the MTV show “Jersey Shore,” went to court recently on the charge of being criminally annoying. Can you really do that? People can really be arrested for being annoying? Who knew? How cool!
Back to the issue—Snooki, um ... Ms. Polizzi ... was arrested on July 30 for essentially “disturbing the peace” on a beach somewhere in New Jersey. Without getting into the lurid details, let’s just say that Snooki had a bit too much to drink and made a spectacle of herself.
When she went before the judge, to her credit, she owned up to her actions, apologized to the arresting officers, was fined $500, sentenced to some community service, and was called a “Lindsay Lohan wannabe” by the presiding judge.
Said the judge, “Going through life rude, profane, obnoxious and self-indulgent — it’s not the way you want to live your life and hopefully this incident will impress upon you that there are consequences to your actions.”
Here’s what I want to know: Is that law only in effect in New Jersey or can one be arrested for being annoying in all 50 states? If it is only a New Jersey law, how can we get one like that here? There are an awfully lot of annoying people I’d like to see locked up! Telemarketers, for example, who call at dinner time.
How about the rude, demanding customer at the restaurant who humiliates the server and then leaves a paltry tip or no tip at all? That’s annoying. Lock ‘em up.
Parents who let their children run wild at public events or in public spaces causing grief to innocent by-stansders ... book ‘em, Dan-o.
Or how about that guy behind the desk at the bank with whom you have made an appointment? You take off work, show up on time, and, during your meeting, he takes four or five telephone calls. That should get jail time.
The people who drive slowly in the left hand lane making it impossible to pass can’t be shot (well, they can, but that’s a really serious crime) so charge them with being criminally annoying.
People who answer their cell phones in movies or use it as a flashlight and distract patrons from the screen ... $500 bucks and community service seems a fair sentence.
Doctors who see you an hour after your appointment was scheduled — even though you were there on time — well, that’s just really annoying.
I like the idea of being able to lock up annoying people — especially when they annoy me. Maybe there could be a “citizen’s arrest” clause worked into the law. Although, then there would be a whole group of people going about the community sounding like Gomer on “The Andy Griffith Show” shouting, “Citizen’s arrest! Citizen’s arrest!” That would get annoying quite rapidly.
And it could be that the jails would be so full of annoying people that murderers, gangsters, and Wall Street executives would have to be set free.
Of course some people might want to arrest preachers for preaching too long or for being boring. Or for asking for money. Or for writing a column on being annoying. I may have to re-think this. Still, it’s an idea to ponder.
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and is the mission pastor of Christ the King Fellowship in Champaign, IL. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]