Douglas Whaley. Law professor, gay rights advocate, atheist, heart transplant recipient, actor, director, novelist, playwright, bridge player, husband, father, cat owner, storyteller. Much humor and, since the writer is a teacher, advice on many topics.
My Lifelong Loathing of Buttons
I want to know who—in 2017—still thinks that buttons are the best way to fasten
clothing? Show me this person and we’ll
have a debate that at some point will escalate to the point where I pull out some
of the choicer words I learned in my Navy days.
Let me start by making
it clear that I don’t suffer from koumpounophobia, which is the tongue-twisting
name for the fear of buttons. I don’t fear buttons. I just detest the vile things.
Starting when I was a little boy struggling to push a button
through a tiny slit slightly larger than the button itself, up to yesterday
when I grabbed a shirt from the closet that had just come back from the dry
cleaners and realized that even though I was in a great hurry I would nonetheless
have to fasten fourteen buttons before I could get out of the house, my hatred
of the damned things been a steady feature of my life.
I’m not a particularly clumsy person, nor am I remarkably
adept at motor movements. I guess I’m
more or less average when it comes to maneuvering small objects about. But for unknown reasons I struggle mightily
with buttons. The ones up and down the
front of a shirt aren’t bad, and those are routinely dealt with quickly when I
first put on a shirt. But I don’t see
the need to unbutton this shirt when I plan to use it again. I just slip it off over my head the same way
you’d exit a sweater. When I need the
shirt again I ship it back on, already buttoned and ready to go. This saves much time when one is in a
hurry. Once at a doctor’s office when he
asked me to take off my shirt, I slipped a buttoned shirt off over my head in
this fashion, and the doctor looked astonished.
“”You’re the second man this week who’s done that!” he exclaimed. “Yeah, yeah,” I mumbled, “we’re members of a secret
When it comes to the evil buttons on shirt sleeves I
approach these with a practiced dread. Typically
there are two buttons on each sleeve (and, happily if rarely, sometimes only
one), but for all too many shirts the sadist who made the creative decisions has
decided to use as many as three buttons
at each wrist.
One of my actual shirts
Mysteriously, when I’m purchasing a shirt it never occurs to
me to count the sleeve buttons, and I certainly wish it did. On bad days I can fumble through the
fastening process for over five minutes, going from mumbling, to grumbling, to
profanity in an ugly progression. If,
happily, my husband is home I often end up walking pitifully to him, wrists out,
confessing failure, begging help. If he’s
not available our cats have, alas, proved useless in this regard.
Why do we use buttons at all? What is their allure?
They’ve certainly been around a long time. For thousands of years they were merely ornaments
and not fasteners at all, but in the 1200s in Germany they were first used to
connect parts of clothing together, and this became a fashion and custom that
is still with us over 800 years later.
Enough! It’s time to
stop. It’s time for a new fastening
fashion. There are wonderful
possibilities, and in this inventive new century there are no limits to what
might be possible as button substitutions.
Obvious candidates are snaps, hooks, Velcro, magnets, and that old
standby: the zipper. Why aren’t these
common replacements for buttons? Think
of the time we would save if we never had to struggle with buttons again! [I also hate shoe laces, but let’s save that
for a later blog post.]
Readers of this post: are you also fellow button-haters? Are you with me? Let’s start a movement! Create slogans!
We could put those slogans on buttons! Wait a minute! What did I say? Buttons?
Since I graduated from law school in 1968 I've always had some sort of legal practice which varied from extensive in the early years, to these days when I'm retired and mostly just doing consulting work for a hefty fee.In this period I've written a lot of letters threatening legal action on behalf of my client (or, on the rare occasion, myself—see Related Posts below).In the classroom I've passed on my advice on how to create an effective letter, and now I offer it to you, blog reader.
A letter threatening legal action almost always discombobulates a recipient who is not him/herself routinely involved in legal actions.I tell my law students that in their coming practices they will often receive such letters (or nowadays even emails), and they will calmly evaluate what to do about them depending on the legal issues involved and the wisdom of litigating them.But the non-legal recipient of such a letter is in a very differen…
Having a dispute with a creditor? One way to win it (and fast) is to send that creditor a "payment in full" check [hereafter "PIFC"] and end it things in your favor. How does this bit of legal magic work? Read on.
It's always been the law that if you and I have an existing contract, either one of us can propose a modification to that contract, and if we both agree, the contract changes accordingly. There are technical names for this. Say, for instance, that I owe you an undisputed amount of $500. I send you an email and ask if you would take my horse Dobbins is settlement of the debt, and you reply in the affirmative. My offer of something different than what was originally owed (the horse for the money) is called the offer of an "accord." Your agreement to take Dobbins is the "satisfaction." Thus an "accord and satisfaction" in our law is nothing more than a fancy name for a modification agreement. I no longer owe you $500; I owe…
For the last few years I have been crossing the country giving lectures on what I now call the "Golden Rule of Mortgage Foreclosures," which is that such foreclosures cannot proceed without production of the original promissory note signed at the closing. A symposium at Western State University Law School last year at which I gave the keynote address turned into a law review article on point, and that law review article is reprinted below in full. The correct citation for the printed version is 39 W. St. U. L. Rev. 313 (2012). As subsequent developments occur I will add them in red to the original article below. Any corrections or suggestions may be sent to me at email@example.com.
Mortgage Foreclosures, Promissory
Notes, and the Uniform Commercial Code By Douglas J. Whaley*
Introduction As is true
of many things in life the Uniform Commercial Code’s statutes concerning the