DEAR MISS MANNERS: On a trip to our local library, I used my elbow to activate the entrance door by pressing the handicap button on the side. I did this to avoid touching the door handle. My 7-year-old daughter said she thought it was inappropriate for me to use the button, as I am not disabled.
I started to explain why it was acceptable for anyone to use the button -- unlike parking in a handicapped zone, it's not unlawful to use the entrance button -- but then second-guessed myself. I began to wonder if my daughter was correct: Just because the button is there doesn't mean that a non-handicapped person should use it. What say you?
GENTLE READER: Your 7-year-old has perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the moment. Righting wrongs -- and there are always more than enough to choose from -- is virtuous, if sometimes humorless. But inventing infractions merely to put people in the wrong is not.
Your use of the button was not a trespass as it harmed no one. And if anyone is about to draw a parallel to the handicapped parking space by saying that it was not being used, Miss Manners answers that you, not being 7 years old, know the difference.