LegalZoom a few years ago came out with an article about old, zany laws that are still on the books.

For example, if you’re driving at night in rural Pennsylvania, state law requires that you stop every mile and send up a rocket signal. In North Dakota, it’s against the law for a bar to serve pretzels with beer.

In Kansas, it is unlawful for restaurants to serve cherry pie a la mode on Sunday. Speaking of Sunday, it’s illegal for unmarried women to go parachuting in Florida, but only on that day. Speaking of women, in Memphis, Tenn., they can’t legally drive unless there is a man with a red flag in front of the car to warn others.

In California, it’s a crime to bother butterflies. And in many unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County, it’s illegal for Goodwill to open a thrift store.

OK, so that last one wasn’t in the LegalZoom article. But it is real.

Of course, these ancient, nutty laws are usually ignored. I’m pretty sure no police department in Kansas ever raided a diner for serving ice cream with cherry pie, or any kind of pie, for that matter. But here in Los Angeles – you guessed it – the ban on thrift stores is actually enforced. In an article in the Feb. 20 issue of the Los Angeles Business Journal, both Goodwill and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which operates Out-of-the-Closet Thrift Stores, were barred recently from opening such shops in unincorporated areas. (By the way, such upscale places as Stevenson Ranch and Marina Del Rey are unincorporated.)

Thankfully, county Supervisor Don Knabe is moving to put an end to this thrift-store silliness.

Personally, I think Goodwill has a marvelous business model, and it’s not just because I’m still grateful for the time I scored an illuminated Pabst Blue Ribbon sign for $8 at one of its shops. No, think about it. Donors get tax deductions for clearing out their closets. Goodwill makes money from selling the donated stuff. The stores’ workers learn job skills (which may be the most valuable aspect). And many a student outfitted a dorm room thanks to a thrift store. For that matter, when it’s back-to-school season, you can whisper to your daughter that you know a secret place where she can get a closet full of funky, retro stuff for the $20 bill that you’re pulling out of your pocket.

The bigger point is this: Laws, ordinances, statutes, acts of Congress and the like sure do build up. They fill volumes of books, data banks, the Library of Congress. Stack them all up, and planet Earth would look like a Tootsie Pop. And a few years after many of those laws are passed, a lot of them look crazy.

The problem is that some of those silly ones don’t get ignored. And you never know when some zealous prosecutor type (did someone say “Nuch”?) decides to bust you for serving pretzels with beer. Or some official in Los Angeles County tells Goodwill they can’t open a thrift store because, well, it would be in an unincorporated area, and we just can’t abide that kind of lawlessness here.

Now that I think about it, if Los Angeles really wants to enforce silly laws, I’ll promise here and now never to bother a butterfly again.