Stub your toe on a pavement in Middleborough, Massachusetts, or crack your head on one of its many hanging baskets and you had better say "what the heck" instead of "what the something else" if you don't want to be fined on the spot.
Residents of the town, population 20,000, have voted to authorise the police to fine anyone caught swearing in its parks or other public areas. The penalty is $20 (£13) a time.
The new measure decriminalises public cursing and instead makes it a violation, freeing police to issue tickets without having to make charges and arrests. It also gives officers discretion to decide which incidents of blasphemy warrant a ticket and which are of the "that just slipped out" variety.Reuse content