TOO BAD YOU CAN'T SELL A HOUSE IN 30 MINUTES OR LESS

If you think real estate agents have fallen on hard times in the Washington area, you're right.

The shocking evidence of the severity of these timeswas painfully clear to a Northern Virginia resident who bought a condominium this summer. She was surprised recently when she ordered a pizza from Domino's to find that under the hat of the deliveryman who brought her the pepperoni pie was her former real estate agent.

The deliveryman sheepishly replied to her query: "Yes. From the penthouse to the outhouse."

But he hasn't given up on the real estate business. He's merely delivering pizzas as a sideline.

STRIKING A NEW NOTE

Because the class in classical music often comes off as deadly dull and stodgy, the Fairfax Symphony wanted to liven things up to attract younger patrons to its 34th season, beginning mid-October, at its new digs at the Center for the Arts at Fairfax's George Mason University.

Typical classical music posters are usually elegant, proper and often suitable for framing; the local branch of DDB Needham advertising agency decided to go in another direction, portraying classical music as a spectator sport.

"The Fairfax Symphony Total Body Workout" shows a handsome young man nattily dressed in a tuxedo, showing how one can "Revive exhausted brain cells with invigorating cultural aerobics," "Flex eyebrows in amazement at Fairfax County's very own world-class orchestra," "Shrug shoulders hopelessly when asked to pronounce 'Prokofiev'," "Let the works of Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and Tchaikovsky take your breath away" and, finally, "Put hands together. Then apart. Repeat approximately 20 times at the end of each musical piece."

"We were trying to lend a whimsical mood to get people interested in music," said Kathleen Snow, DDB Needham account executive. "And get them moving a little, I guess."

WHAT IF HE OWNED THE HOUSTON OILERS?

In addition to running Amerada Hess Corp., oilman Leon Hess is the owner of professional football's New York Jets -- an affiliation that Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) took note of when Hess testified before the Senate's government affairs committee last week.

On the verge of describing Hess as "a giant of the oil industry," Lieberman caught himself mid-sentence and -- appropriately switching New York football references -- instead called Hess "a Jet of the oil industry."

Hess, obviously delighted, seized on the opportunity to change the subject from oil futures trading to the Jets. "Let's hope the Jets win on Sunday," he said, amid much laughter. "That's more important than this testimony."

Footnote: The Jets defeated the Dallas Cowboys yesterday, 24-9.