On my drive from New York to Cape Cod, I noticed a disparity among the Do Not Litter signs posted along the interstate. In Rhode Island, the signs warned drivers that the punitive fine is as low as $55. But one state over, Massachusettsans–now that’s a word and also some insight as to why outsiders opt for the term Masshole instead–can be charged up to $10,000 for chucking a piece of trash from their car window.
At first, I found this discrepancy in fines both preposterously funny and obnoxiously extreme (both on the low and high end of the spectrum for fines). But then I thought about Delaware. The second smallest state in the Union has become a safe haven for corporations thanks to their corporation-friendly courts and legislature. So it made sense that Rhode Island–the smallest of the fifty states–needed to attract some segment of the population to their little corner of America. Since corporations were spoken for, Rhode Island naturally sought to entice the next group of assholes–not to be confused with Massholes, though sometimes they are one in the same–litterbugs. But this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. After all, another name for Rhode Islanders is Swamp Yankees. And what better way to beautify a swamp than to trash it.
Note: My only experiences in Rhode Island, thus far, have been a two-hour visit to Newport back in 2005, which I found to be beautiful and would like to return to for at least three hours, and the movie Outside Providence, which is Alec Baldwin’s best role as he really embraces calling his son and his friends “Assbag,” though the film does not portray Rhode Island’s best side.
Note 2: In a related story, while conducting this exhaustive research on the differences between Rhode Island and Massachusetts’s Do Not Litter signs, on a bridge in Connecticut I discovered two more postings about littering that struck me as newsworthy. In the picture below, you can see that the green sign threatens to bill pedestrians $250 for throwing their trash to the floor or into the water, while the yellow one on the bridge sets them back only $199.
In summation, do not litter. But if you must litter, do it in Rhode Island. Though if you find yourself on this bridge in Connecticut, do it closer to the yellow sign; you’ll save $51.
First Photo Credit: CP Storm