Monday I offered a quiz (on which I scored zero).  Tuesday I posed a legal question (can you be held to a real estate contract made when you were drunk?).  And yesterday I told you about hats.  You’re certainly getting your money’s worth from this web site.

And at no extra charge you get updates.


Tom Stolze:  “I had fun with Monday’s quiz. Did you know there are nine more questions to the quiz?”

I did not.  I would have gotten most of these wrong, too:

11. What is the main ingredient of “Bombay Duck”? (fish)

12. What kind of tree is the Douglas fir? (pine)

13. Where did french fries come from? (Belgium)

14. In which state was playwright Tennessee Williams born? (Mississippi)

15. What country has the world’s largest Spanish-speaking population? (Mexico)

16. In what season does Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” take place? (Spring)

17. What do honey bees collect? (nectar)

18. Which is higher in latitude, Upper Canada or Lower Canada?  (Lower Canada, part of Quebec)

19. How long did the Thirty Years War last? (thirty years, 1618 to 1648)


Marty: “First off, I’m guessing the law regarding making real estate contracts when drunk is just a subset of the more general rule regarding to what extent an individual can be held responsible for making contracts in general when he or she is drunk.  Second, this would likely be a rule that is state-specific, i.e., the law in any particular state is not necessarily the rule in another.  Third, although I know YOU know that you shouldn’t rely on general, out-of-context and unsolicited advice from a lawyer,  even with what I suspect is the way above average intelligence of your readers, I’d prefer not to have anyone in any way think they might rely on the following, so please don’t use my name, should you publish any of the legal portion of this email.

“My initial suspicion upon reading your post was that since one who is drunk generally gets in that condition voluntarily, or at least with a conscious knowledge that his or her actions could cause him to get drunk, it would be very bad public policy to permit a drunk person to use his drunkenness to avoid a contract he has entered into.  In addition, my experience as a lawyer tells me that even if one takes a different theoretical view, opening the doors to such an excuse would cause significant practical problems (litigants could always use drunkenness as an excuse to avoid contracts, and then it would be a matter to be litigated to find out if the evidence truly supports that defense).  Thus, I was surprised when I Lexis’d (the legal equivalent of “Google’d”)  << (drunk or inebriate! or intoxicate!) w/15 (capacit! or incapacit!) w/15 contract  >> for California case law (the jurisdiction in which I live) and came up with — Guidici v. Guidici, 2 Cal. 2d 497, 502 (1935) — admittedly 80 years old, but apparently still good law, which said:

The law upon this question is well settled and is stated as follows: “The rule that the person alleging his incapacity should be bound by his contract because intoxication is his voluntary act was at first relaxed by allowing him to show that his condition was brought about by the other party. But a more rational view now prevails. The law now regards the fact of intoxication and not the cause of it, and regards that fact as affording proof of want of mental capacity.  A completely intoxicated person is generally placed on the same footing as persons of unsound mind. One deprived of reason and understanding by reason of drunkenness is, for the time, as unable to consent to the terms of a contract as are persons who lack mental capacity by reason of insanity or idiocy. A person who at the time of making a contract is completely intoxicated may avoid his contract notwithstanding the fact that his intoxicated condition may have been caused by his voluntary act and not by the contrivance of the other party to the contract. . . .” (6 Ruling Case Law, p. 595.)

“The lawyer in me also suggests that to the extent you use or quote the above, you give an explicit warning for your readers not to rely on the above in any of their dealings.”

☞ Hey, you morons: don’t negotiate, agree to, or sign anything important when you’re drunk.  But if you did, and now regret it, it could greatly enrich a pair of opposing attorneys.  And yours might even be able to pull a rabbit out of a hat and — abracadabra — make your obligation disappear.  So try to find a lawyer also good at magic.


Satya Twena:  “Almost 4 years ago, when I started making hats, I went to Charles’s shop to show him the hats I had made (I knew he LOVED hats).  He was so excited AND then gave me the best advice to date.  He said: Satya, to truly be a designer you must be able to scale your business and you can’t be making your own hats…you have to work with the factory.  He went on to introduce me to the Makins Hat Factory.  I began working with them immediately and it allowed me to focus on building my business (instead of making each hat one by one).  For the last 3-1/2 years I worked closely with the factory, then last October the factory closed abruptly, they fired everyone (no one in the industry knew) – one of the employees called me to tell me to pick up my stuff so it wouldn’t get lost, stolen or sold in liquidation.  I though this was the universe’s way of telling me to STOP making hats focus on something else. But as it turns out, this was my opportunity to BUY the factory and November of last year, I became the owner of Makins Hats.  I think about and feel Charles’s presence here daily and I  believe it’s only because of him that this has all manifested. His thoughtfulness and interest in helping me has carried over every step of my career.”

☞ You can visit — and even (I’m guessing in the British accent Elaine May used as she was about to go up to the room with Mike Nichols for their adultery) “have your hat re-blocked.”  Or just blocked in the first place.

Have a great weekend.



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