THE POST Office, in one of its ex cathedra or un-fight-backable pronouncements, says our Zip numbers will expand from five to nine digits.

If you are now 20016, you will be something else with four more numbers to remember.

Assuming, of course, there is any postal service still going by the time the nine-digit system is complete, 2 1/2 years hence.

A survey of the citizens shows:

I stand opposed." - T. Z., Purcellville, Va.

"Life always gets more complicated, never simpler. Why is that?" - J. M., Utah Ave. NW


Some say the nine-digit Zip is merely a straw in the wind to prepare us for a truly efficient Zip of 479 numerals.

A lot. But it would incorporate the permanent voter registration number and the current light bill. A real time saver in the long run.

A scholar of trends, a man gifted at seeing what a just over the horizon, states:

"People are so used to picking up the paper and getting jolted by some incredible new balderdash that everything is possible now. It all started when you began to have to beg a department store to sell you something - just to take your money became a hassle.

"Now that people have been beaten to their knees, know if you are aware some of the various commodities, but they make the new Zip seem tame."

When pressed, he cited some:

Commencing tomorrow, The Clancy Clarion will be published in Greek, to conserve paper. There will be no price increase." - The Clancy Clarion, Clancy, Ala.

"Customers desiring vanilla ice cream after Friday, May 27, should bring their vanilla beans 48 hours before they intend to pick up the ice cream." - Brilliston Chemicals, Food Div.

Clothing alterations may be made the third Thursday of each month in our workrooms. Customers will find ample table space and excellent lighting, and guidance from our master tailors." - Bandaged Goat Clothiers.

"Automobile license plates for Betsey, Md., may be purchased from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Dec. 24-26 at the police station at Chambersburg, Pa." - Betsey Bulletin.

We regret that rising costs and increased production problem require Christmas tree lights to be bought no later than Oct. 1." - Bee Lights.

"Because we cannot foresee pasturage conditions and therefore milk flow, customers ordering our famous Tar-Tooth Cheese will be sent pickling spice when substitution is necessary." - Bandy Asphalt, Consumer Div.

"We can no longer except persons for burial who do not make reservations sixteen (16) days in advance." - Grace Undertakers.

"To conserve energy, traffic lights will be illuminated only in evening hours after October." - Dept. of Govt. Mgmt., Forestry Bureau.

"The new retrieval system requires Social Security numbers to be printed backwards on applications after Feb. 3." - Acme Payroll Corp.

"Clients desiring to hear the sound track sound make reservations and pick up earphones at least two hours before show times." - Lassie Cinema.

The source said he does not know the provenance of the following announcement:

"Governments desiring soldiers, tax-payers, and citizens of peaceful men should straighten up or drop dead no later than Oct. 1, 1978."

The trouble with public policy is that difficult questions are rarely answered directly. Here is how it should be done, with Error speaking first, as usual, then (as sometimes, later, and almost inaudibly) Truth:

E. - It is wrong for the press to be required to disclose the source of confidential information that leads to exposing kickbacks in government, the commission of murder, and general lunkheadness in our lords and masters.

E. - Why should a reporter net be obliged to turn over his notes, from confidential sources, to a court?"

T. - Why should a wife not be compelled to turn over her information about her husband to a court? Why should not a priest, a lawyer, a doctor, be compelled to spill to a court the beans they got in private?

E. - It is heinous to think of an innocent man going to jail in a criminal case when the undisclosed notes of a reporter might have saved him.

T. - It is herinous for a justice system not to work, if that's what you mean. Is the press so great that without its turning over information gained through confidence and turst the innocent will suffer in our courts? Take a nice long look at government as we have known it in recent years. Now then, do you still really believe the aim of government in requiring disclosure of confidential press sources is to insure justice for an innocent man in a criminal case?

E. - The press is sometimes sensational, inaccurate, biased, and does not have enough pictures of basset hounds.

T. - Unarguable. And judges ruling on law and judges interpreting law are frequently loons. Business executives are frequently incompetent businessmen. Anything else new that you'd like to report?"

E. - It looks pretty suspicious when reporter claims the First Amendment and all that, while he is making money writing books. "Take that guy from The Times. The jailbird. Thanks to him there's a real tangle about shield laws, the jurisdiction of courts, and God knows what else.

T. - You hit it on the head. Because of him a number of snarled skeins of the law (the law as actually experienced by ordinary people) have been seen. His case may yet become more important for what it says than for what it says about the constitutional.

E. - It's pretty hard to disentangle commercial interests from First Amendment rights.

T. - The U.S. Supreme Court and other courts have had no problem at all doing so. Of course it requires brains to go step by step through a case that has many different facts in it.

D. - Where there's smoke there's fire.

T. - A man carry two buckets of worms in his hands and still wear a bright crown on his head.