“You don’t get a figure like mine by eating salads for lunch,” I often say, when it is either necessary or, more likely, merely personally amusing to point out that I’m no longer the fittest of the fit. But I still have a few friends left from childhood that remember me as a scrawny kid, constantly on the move, never staying still, always running, bicycling, shooting hoops, not per se “exercising” in the 40-something meaning of the word, on treadmills or ellipticals, but let’s say… “very active”. (And I wonder where my children get their energy from.)
One of many “activities” was climbing trees, for example, the State Tree of Texas, the great Pecan. Of course, any tree is good for scaling when you’re eight to twelve years old, but to bastardize the famous bank robber Willie Sutton’s misquote: Why did you climb the pecan tree? Because that’s where the pecans are.
In fact, there were pecan trees all over my neighborhood, both around my home, school and church. The statute of limitations has now passed – by a few decades or so – so it’s probably safe for me to admit that I was a juvenile delinquent. And I hung out with the wrong crowd. That’s right, my friends and I would not only climb pecan trees, but we would even “cause the pecans to fall” from the branches, scramble down, crack and eat to our hearts delight.
From Section 3101.010 of the Texas Government Code:
§ 3101.010. Thrashing Pecans
(a) A person commits an offense if the person causes pecans to fall from a pecan tree by any means, including by thrashing, unless the tree is located on:
(1) land owned by the person causing the pecans to fall;
(2) privately owned land, and the person causing the pecans to fall has the written consent of the owner, lessee, or authorized agent of the owner or lessee;
(3) land owned by the state or a political subdivision of the state and in the boundaries of a municipality, and the person causing the pecans to fall has written consent from an officer or agent of the agency or political subdivision controlling the land or from the mayor of the municipality; or
(4) land owned by the state or a political subdivision of the state and outside the boundaries of a municipality, and the person causing the pecans to fall has written consent from an officer or agent of the agency or political subdivision controlling the property or from the county judge of the county.
Maybe a ticket, fine only, right? Not so.
(b) An offense under this section is a misdemeanor and on conviction is punishable by:
(1) a fine of not less than $5 or more than $300;
(2) confinement in the county jail for a term not to exceed three months; or
(3) both a fine and confinement.
Moral of the story: when you start having so many criminal laws that some of them are buried in sections numbered beyond the first couple of thousand, and/or not even in the penal code, you might be going to far.