Denver Bar Association
January 2000
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Letter to the Editor

by Arthur K. Underwood, Jr.

 

Underwood Refutes Underwear Story


Friends sent me The Docket, November 1999, p. 7, published by the Denver Bar Association to Denver’s legal world, and to many others, the following text under the heading "Undressing Dress Codes."
'Every phrase or clause of your (The Docket's) squib skims the truth but none is flat wrong in media lingo.'

Someone called me first to get authority to print something to which he referred as the "boxer shorts" story. I assumed he knew the story. He was an old friend. Our conversation was as casual as the costume. I agreed.

The text: "Maybe it was Art Underwood, retired attorney at Sherman

& Howard, who set the tone for a more casual dress code at the office. Rumor has it that Underwood occasionally went to work on hot summer weekends in the 1970s wearing only his boxer shorts."

The fact: In the 1970s I was told that the firm had mislaid a stored file of materials, under unknown cover, containing everything for one client starting at least 20 years before and going generations back.

After searching the usual storage bins upstairs, they determined that the file had to be in a secret (to me, anyway) basement storage room, of the unorganized materials of many clients, with asphalt walls and no ventilation except big, noisy fans.

It was tight full, 70 percent dirty, torn covers and material mixed. Most items had to be dragged. Under a desperate deadline I headed a team of four single lawyers to rotate 10 Sundays (seven hours) searching for it.

We were allowed to drink beer. We had a radio and sandwiches. Nobody saw us except the rats, and there were rats. It took three months. We didn’t find it, but we did find many important documents: land title abstracts, corporate seals and unclosed files, etc.

Yes, "Underwood occasionally went to work on hot summer weekends in the 1970s." To believe that true you must accept the usual interpretation of "went to work." However, we all arrived in the storage room and departed from it in normal casual dress.

We all stripped down to the minimum (which may have been jockey shorts), and then we all went to work in something survival-oriented like tank trunks, seen at Martha’s Vineyard daily.

It is hard to believe that the article intends us to believe that I left my home, in my own car, solely in boxer shorts, parked, entered the building, and passed the guard and then reversed those steps seven hours later. I deny that I did so, and I am having a hard time accepting that it was in good faith.

Every phrase or clause of your squib skims the truth but none is flat wrong in media lingo. The title of the column and the frame of reference of all the other items makes my accolade a slam. But media, which has finally earned the label first awarded to it by the French Revolution as: "The Fourth Estate," does this every day, even to the face of its "guests" and "witnesses." And they certainly are now the fourth branch of government, but without responsibility. I am reminded of Bill Clinton.

However, I congratulate whoever drafted that squib. Under the White House assumptions, the venture succeeded. That is communication today. So let’s join them! I realize that, under Media Mafia rules, you don’t have to do anything or even answer me. But consider whether or not you might reprint the original with my reply and that may provide as much glory and laughter for everybody as if there was no faux pas by any of us.

Ask your readers whose story is more appropriate for The Docket. The loser will appear in boxer shorts at your choice, and the winner gets to take the first shot.

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