Bits and pieces . . . .
Welcome to the club, Barbara Luchs . . . . There she was on River Road in Bethesda when a tailgater pulled up behind her in the left lane. Barbara was going 45, the posted speed limit, so she saw no reason to move over, speed up, genuflect or do anything else . . . . The tailgater zoomed past Barbara on the right, at about 60 -- for all the good it did. The light was red a few hundred yards further on, and Barbara found herself stopped beside the zoomer . . . . "If you can't keep up with the flow of traffic," the zoomer called out, "then get out of the left lane." Barbara told the woman to mind her own business. The woman responded with the most familiar obscene gesture of all, and disappeared onto the Beltway . . . . Barbara asks me what she should have done. My answer: Nothing different from what you did. If we don't stand our ground when zoomers work out their personality kinks in public, we'll be playing their game (uncivilized) instead of ours (civilized) . . . .
Jonathan and Sarah Blum of Rockville are still chortling (or is it sighing?) over a bit of quirkiness at Partners, a restaurant in Bethesda . . . . The bathrooms there have stalls that accommodate the handicapped, as required by law . . . . To get to the bathrooms, you have to go down a flight of stairs . . . .
Of all companies, Visa should know how to spell the word "due," wouldn't you think? . . . . So why did Visa send Naomi Abernathy of Fairfax (and presumably thousands of others) a blurb that began, "Do to the fine manner in which you have handled your account . . . ." . . . .
Looking for volunteers: The Montgomery County Chapter of the American National Red Cross, which runs first-aid operations at major county events, and needs 15 new people. Call Eileen Thomas at 424-5319. Also The Columbia Historical Society, the organization that protects and celebrates the history of Washington, D.C. Columbia is looking for volunteers to staff children's outreach programs. Call 785-2068 . . . .
Way to go, Les Beall of Bowie . . . . Les, a trucker for Safeway, won the grand championship at this year's National Truck Driving Championships, which were held in Fort Worth, Tex. . . . . Les has been grinding gears for Safeway for 21 years . . . .
An idea worth trying from Les's fellow Bowie-ite, Leah Reid . . . . Leah says she no longer loses film when she has it developed by a photo service because on every roll, she uses the first frame to take a photo of a piece of paper bearing her name, address and phone number . . . . Knowing some of the developing companies, and their amazing consistency in failing to find lost rolls, even this method doesn't assure success . . . . But it should greatly improve one's chances of finding the previously unfindable . . . . Thanks, Leah . . . .
Doris McNeely Johnson of Fort Washington is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of the District of Columbia. Which means she often reads essays submitted by students. Which means she notices how often these students use sentence fragments instead of complete sentences . . . . Doris blames The Washington Post for this. She says that every day, she finds several sentences-that-aren't-sentences in this journal, most often in the Style section . . . . When she called to bash me about this, I told Doris that newspapers and psychology term papers occupy different universes . . . . No psychology paper should ever contain a fragment, I said. But when you are writing for the popular prints, and you are searching for emphasis, and the pitch of a certain article is casual, why not relax the rules? . . . . Doris is not persuaded by this. She writes that "this horrible practice must be. Stopped at once before. It really gets. Out of. Hand." . . . . May I propose a compromise, Doris? How about a quota? Each Post scribe gets 10 fragments a year, to spend as he or she likes. If we can't ban fragments (and we can't), maybe we can at least control them . . . .
Ferrara's Law, as invented by (and suffered by) Joseph Ferrara of Springfield: Whenever one tries to enter a public building immediately after another person, the other person will fail to hold the door . . . . Brother Ferrara says his law applies even at the front door of his church, "where you would expect a bit more compassion from your fellow man." . . . . How about having a bunch of cards printed up, Joseph? They'd read: "WOULD HOLDING THE DOOR FOR A SECOND KILL YOU?" Slip one silently to each offender . . . .
Perhaps the Defense Intelligence Agency knows something we don't . . . . John Finerty of Northwest thinks so. He called DIA the other day and asked for "Congressional Liaison." He was connected to "Foreign Liaison." . . . .
And finally, John Jacobson, 3-year-old son of Joan and Jacob of Bethesda, told his parents the other day that Michael Dukakis is his choice for the 1988 Democratic nomination. His astounded parents asked why. "Because he looks like Captain Kangaroo," John said . . . . No griping, Duke. Kid could have been a Big Bird fan, right? . . . .