007 — License to Arrange

License to Arrange

You wonder about the absurdity of government? Here’s a good example: Here we are, Louisiana — the only state to license flower arrangers. I kid you not. According to our Advocate there are 2,200 “licensed florists” — which means that there are thousands of “unlicensed florists” — such a crime wave! Me too – for I go to my garden, pick and pluck, and then arrange with wild abandon and give such unlicensed things to folks I know, and they “pay” me with dinner! I quake with fear now lest the Flower Police arrive to fine and incarcerate me! I do!

A state lawmaker, Republican Franklin Foil, submitted legislation to rid us of this absurdity – in part.

For while the exam and the license would go the way of the Dodo, the “licensing fee still would be required.” Talk about paying for nothing! Such dereliction of public protection duty, too! Why, to have unlicenses flower stuffers! It shall not be had! What, no test to see if you know how to put a rose with a fern frond!? Why, the Republic might collapse! Ugliness might prevail! Beauty destroyed! But the fee would still be collected? For what? Sheer money grubbing! And now licenses would just be handed out to anyone with $150? Oh, the horrors of it all! The abdication of public protection! The free market run rampant over the flower buying public! The state to the half-rescue! Flowers just willy nilly shoved in vases! I quiver in fear at the break down of public flowered order!

How many new florists did come to the state every year to be properly licensed? Oh yes, the head of the $90 Million A Year Agriculture Department said that not only did some 100 or so a year take the test – but some 25% FAILED! Imagine failing vase stuffing 101! How dumb could one be? So for $12,000 or so in annual fees – for knowing how to put a daffadil with a hydrangea – our $150,000 a year Dept. Head is greatly involved in making sure Louisiana had the very best flower arrangers in America! Pity the other states’ people, put upon by craven indifference to the floral arranging of the nation. Obama better do something, or maybe someone would put a tea plant branch with a communist-red rose.

No word on whether florists were required to re-license every few years, less their skills atrophy without the nanny state intervening. No word on this important aspect of protecting the public from those who would put amaryllis with tulips!

And how many bureaucrats were required to administer this test? No word on that either, but let’s say four or five – at what? No less than $40,000 a year plus benefits? $200,000 or so in bureaucrats to earn $12,000 in licensing fees? And what are their qualifications? Did they go to the very best college to get the expertise? Is there even a community college which teaches flower arranging? I wonder too if there is some predetemined list of do’s and dont’s – you know, no yellows with blues, no hanging with stand ups – what could the “approved” flower arrangements be? After all, if one must pass a test surely there are “objective” guidelines?

Were there pages and pages of rules and regulations, requirements and prohibitions: “Thou shall not put a yellow flower with a light green palm frond, it is an abomination!” (or is that too Biblical?) Or is it all subjectively in the eyes of the testors – thereby increasing the potential for, um, bribery – you know, an extra $20 or so to get the license – or Fail? What poppycock! How could one possibly even fail such a test? Surely whatever flowers at hand could go into an arrangement – but, what, they were forbidden? Was there a fine if you put carnations with maiden hair ferns when Boston Ferns were the approved frond? No word on that either, and I as a concerned citizen do worry that my Advocate did not clue me in as to the proper arranging allowed and those forbidden: “NO! Too many roses!” Who knows?

Was there an enforcement brigade going around to make sure the licensed did as directed by the state flower arranging board? Could fines be levied? Licenses pulled? No word on this important matter.

There’s been a test, that costs $150, which requires a one hour written test and four hours of “practical” examination during “which the taker must design four floral arrangements.” Who on earth would design and construct such a test? And then grade it? At what expense? How utterly nutty.

Opponents of removing the test are apparently up in arms, of course, because “the tests ensure the quality of the florist.” Oh my! Unqualified to shove a few different flowers into a vase? We can’t be having people putting red roses with blue forget-me-nots or the state’s beloved and bereaved will be forever singed by the ugliness of it all! Weddings, funerals, Valentines and Mothers Day utterly torn asunder by dastardly unlicensed and untrained flower stuffers! I can hear the gnashing of teeth now at romantic getaways. Says the wife: “How dare you, you cad, in buying me flowers from an unlicensed floral arranger! I want a divorce!”

Or, one would think that whomever is buying the arrangements would be able to determine if the arrangement being bought is to their liking. No? And if some customer asked for, nay, demanded, an arrangment of daisies and roses and it is forbidden, then what? Oh the criminals in our midst!

I’d be laughing uproariously if only it wasn’t such an obvious abuse of state power. Who the hell is licensing state legislators and bureaucrats to make sure laws, requirements and tests aren’t arranged to the detriment of the public? And can you imagine the fines levied on the unlicensed arrangers? Or is jail time in the offing for repeat offenders? I can imagine the conversation in the cell block now:

“What are you in for?”

“Second degree unlicensed floral arranging.”

Oh the criminals roaming our state, putting azaleas with dogwoods!

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