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Three Wise Guys: Flossing at Work, Guy Seeking Guy Friends, Photo-ID Credit Cards


(By Danny Hellman For The Washington Post)

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By Joe Heim, Justin Rude and Dan Zak
Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dear Wise Guys:

I work in a cubicle environment, where one is aware of much that goes on in nearby cubicles. One of my colleagues flosses his teeth at least once a day in his cubicle. Oddly, other male colleagues have seen him bringing his toothbrush and toothpaste into the bathroom. I am not sure why he chooses to undertake one dental hygiene task in the bathroom and another within clear sight and hearing range of a number of colleagues. Needless to say, we are all disturbed and disgusted with this daily habit and reluctant to use common office documents that have been in his possession. Is this appropriate shared-office-space behavior? If not, any suggestions?

Trina

Dan: Is he eating corn on the cob every day? Do you know if he brushes in the bathroom? If he does, and confines his flossing to his cubicle, that's weird. But if he only flosses . . . . Listen, I take issue not with the act but with the conspicuousness. If you're going to floss in your cubicle -- as I myself have done, I'll admit -- do so discreetly. This goes for farting, too.

Joe: Is that what you consider discreet, Dan? The rest of us here don't think so. As for your question, Trina, if you post this column in the office break room, he may get the message. Or he'll fold it up and use it to pick his teeth.

Dear Wise Guys:

My husband complains that he has no friends, and he's right. Most of his friends have moved away, fallen off the face of the Earth or coupled off. Where can a 30-year-old guy go in the D.C. area to meet up with other guys (single or married) to do "guy" things, such as work out, boat, camp, watch sports, drink, scratch, etc.?

Alexandria

Justin: If your husband has even marginal athletic experience, a great way to make friends is by joining a recreational league. The area is full of rec centers that host organized leagues in almost every sport. There is even a curling club ( http://www.curldc.org) in Laurel that is open to beginners. Finding a team is often as easy as e-mailing the league commissioner. From then on, making friends is usually as easy as contributing the postgame beers once or twice.

Joe: Or you could just have him e-mail Dan, whose crude cubicle habits have cost him all of his friendships.

Hi there, oh wise and modest guys:

A few years ago, I had a credit card that would never be stolen. It had my photo on it. After a few years, the bank that issued it was swallowed by another, which (while promising to introduce products I would love) canceled the product I did love. Is there any bank that still issues this type of credit card? Identity theft is more of a problem than ever. Why is this solution so hard to find?

Susan

Joe: Well, Susan (if that really is your name and you aren't someone pretending to be Susan), you must have really liked the photo on your credit card. We checked with John Hall, a spokesman for the American Bankers Association, who says it's up to each issuer whether to provide a photo credit card. Hall recommends shopping around to find one that does.

The bigger question, though, is whether your photo on a credit card is effective. Linda Foley, the founder of the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego, says it is only a partial deterrent.

"Unfortunately, about 50 percent of the time, no one even looks at my credit card," she says. "You could sign it 'Mickey Mouse,' and they don't look at the signature." Foley adds that, as consumers, we "need to be more forceful in requiring people to check information and IDs."

Have a question only the Three Wise Guys can answer? Send it to wiseguys@washpost.com and await their words of wise-dom.


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