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Ban this!

We live in the time of the ban. Just last week, a new smoking ban for Rock Hill and York County. A baggy pants ban for Jasper County down near Hilton Head Island, where old geezers pull their lime-green golf pants up to their armpits anyway.

Why stop at nasty cigarettes and low riders that show off unsightly plumber's butt? All forms of public display must be reviewed in South Carolina if droopy drawers are a crisis. Or else, we might tumble into an abyss of having the nation's lowest test scores, poorest health, obesity and joblessness.

Wait -- we already have those problems up to our eyeballs.

Yet, suggestions should not be halted. Bans have momentum. Politicians get to say "NO!" and the public claps hard and fast. Bans, triggered by a jaywalking ban in Rock Hill last year in a city without jaywalkers, are suddenly hip and cool.

Try these bans on for size:

Ban grimaces. All frowners at work who sneer at you because you have the audacity to carry joy in your hip pocket should be fined. Groaners who demand parking next to the front door should be deported. Curmudgeons and Scrooges moaning about the wait in line at the grocery store, jailed.

Ban dissent. Although this is America, where free speech is so sacred it's right there in the First Amendment of the Constitution, who needs a bunch of whiners anyway? Don't like a ban? Move to Pakistan. You're banned.

Ban store-bought cookies from Christmas parties. If you can't get the kids, wife or lady-friend to bake cookies, you cannot go watch the boss put a lampshade on his head after two beers. Single and no stove? Can't cook? Too busy? Tough. Banned.

Ban Christmas sweaters. Baggy pants are apparently the death of civilized society (we all know that baggy pants lead directly into chronic drug use and juvenile delinquency), but sweaters with reindeer and snowflakes on them, given by relatives who truly hate your guts, are against all fashion laws and lead to unbearable small talk about gas mileage and 401(k) losses. Somebody shows up at work wearing the Christmas sweater? Make them stand out front on the sidewalk with the shivering smokers.

Ban eggnog. Nobody drinks it at the Christmas party, yet almost every host has a big punchbowl of it. It looks like a swamp after five minutes. It might taste worse.

Ban holiday visits by in-laws of more than three days. The mother-in-law tells you she has forwarded her mail to your house? Ban her.

Ban politicians. If no member of the Rock Hill City Council or York County Council did anything until the new year, could anybody possibly be upset? You may recall both councils were among the last public bodies in the state to enact a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. At least if politicians were banned, these councils could enact no bans. But watch out. Beforehand, they might ban bans. We certainly can't have the public doing the banning. Deciding how to dress, or think, is far too important for us do decide.

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