Flashback to 1986. Florida’s tourism jingle. With a hashtag.
The controversial slogan was quickly put to rest but it took years to recover from the snide jokes. (It’s still used derisively whenever someone wants to break the rules.)
What tourists really need is useful advice.
Carl Hiaasen, who’s created his own subgenre of wacky Florida crime novels, always says he doesn’t make anything up—he just reads the papers. So, listen up, tourists. He’s got some useful advice for you ~ because the rules down here are definitely different.
RULE NO. 1: You must remove your Beretta shoulder holster before going swimming.
RULE NO. 2: You must get wounded in a place you’ve never been wounded before.
RULE NO. 3: At spring break you must never stand for too long beneath a hotel full of drunken college kids.
RULE NO. 4: You must never stop on Interstate 95 to ask directions from a teenager holding a cinderblock.
RULE NO. 5: You are required to watch at least one sunrise, because that’s what time the 10 P.M. Metrobus finally shows up.
RULE NO. 6: You must never light a cigar with 12 drums of pure ether in the back of your car.
RULE NO. 7: You must never wear your beeper into the sauna.
RULE NO. 8: You are required to take home at least a dozen giant Bufo toads as souvenir doorstops.
RULE NO. 9: You must stand in line for three hours outside Joe’s Stone Crab, only to be mistakenly rounded up in a Border Patrol sweep of South Beach.
RULE NO. 10: You must never wear a tie to your arraignment.
RULE NO. 11: You must never, ever use your turn signal while changing lanes.
RULE NO. 12: You must never open your front door to a gang of armed men wearing police badges, black Ray bans and rubber Ed Meese masks. You must never believe them if they tell you all Florida cops drive unmarked Maseratis.
RULE NO. 13: You must never carry correct change when going through a busy tollbooth, and always spend as much time as possible chatting with the cashier about which way Sea World is.
RULE NO. 15: You must not be alarmed to discover that two entire floors of your hotel have been rented out to the federal Witness Protection Program.
I think the 1986 slogan was better than Florida’s very first one. In 1845, when Florida joined the Union as a state, the first state flag that flew over the capitol bore the words: ‘Let Us Alone.’