He clearly needs a more predictable girl, or else a wallet that holds more than two bucks.

I have been worrying, as I expect most of you have, about that baffled-looking fellow who has been appearing (nearly life-sized) in a bank ad, crying that this bank's outdoor money machine SAVED MY (SOCIAL) LIFE.

No doubt there are many of us who would like our social lives saved, so one studies the ad and discovers Joe (as we may call him) achieved the unexpected joy of getting a date with this girl name of Linda.

So unexpected, in fact, that he was grateful for the money machine "on K Street." He got multiple pennies, apparently, and took Linda for "a couple of drinks at a nice place." Mayflower, I would guess.

He then drove Linda to her place in Arlington. It dawned on him she might be expecting supper. So he stopped at the bank's outdoor money machine at Rosslyn and got some more. Then he drove her to a restaurant in Silver Spring.

Linda, one of those healthy American maidens, evidently started to eat like a goat. "One of everything," Joe says in the ad. Thank God, he sees another outdoor money machine right across from the eatery in Silver Spring, and, for the third time in four hours, gets some more cash.

Now, if he got the first money to buy Linda a couple of drinks, we may assume the hour was 5 p.m. Why he drove her to Arlington (at 6:30 p.m., by my reckoning) I cannot imagine. It was on the way to Arlington, you recall, that he stopped in at the Rosslyn money machine. So he got some more money in Rosslyn (Linda having drunk five at the Mayflower instead of one or two, no doubt, which is why Joe's K Street cash did not hold out) but it is not clear to me why.

If the money ran out after Linda's drinks, she evidently drank a lot more than Joe figured on, and I suspect he drove her home dead drunk with some evil purpose in mind.

If he was just driving her home drunk, doubtless with the idea of assisting her to bed, I cannot see why he needed any more money. He certainly was not planning to take her to dinner in Rosslyn or Arlington, since they went to Silver Spring, as the ad says perfectly clearly.

Why you would take a drunk girl from Rosslyn to supper at Silver Spring is a mystery, of course. Probably there's a Silver Spring restaurant that's specially good for taking a drunk girl to. But if so, why stop for money in Rosslyn, and for that matter why go to Rosslyn in the first place.

Wait. I've got it. Joe had to keep up with Linda, of course, as she was drinking all his dough up at the Mayflower. So Joe himself was just about as stewed as Linda. That is how it happened he drove from the Mayflower to Silver Spring by way of Rosslyn and Arlington.

Even so, since he stopped and got cash at Rosslyn on the way to supper at Silver Spring, you wonder why he had to get more at Silver Spring.

The likeliest explanation is that Joe (he would still be pretty tight in Rosslyn if he had just driven over from K Street) only got $5 for supper, and once he got to Silver Spring and Linda began eating one of everything, it finally struck him that five bucks was not going to cover dinner for two plus tax plus tip, plus (very likely) a bottle of wine, since once those girls get plastered they flat keep on for the rest of the evening.

And so, dear Watson, we see that this ad for outdoor money machines is telling us a much more interesting story than appears in the ad itself.

And of course we have all been worrying about Joe ever since. I think he needs a new girl, who will have a drink at the Mayflower and let it go at that and perhaps say, "Joe, this has been fun, but I tell you what. Let's go to my place and I'll heat up that cassoulet in the freezer that I made on Labor Day and have been keeping for a special occasion."

Then Joe, pleased that Linda had only one drink instead of two, would have 10 bucks to spare, and they'd go to Rosslyn and Arlington and Joe would flag his nose at every money machine he passed along the route.

He would not be bombed himself. Neither would Linda. They would not go to Silver Spring.

The only feasible interpretation of the ad as it ran is that Joe got $20 on K Street, $30 in Rosslyn, and (Linda was galloping right through the pate, shrimps, sole, saddle of venison, asparagus, mushrooms, Pommard, raspberry bombe, coffee and Chartreuse in Silver Spring) another $50 in wildest Maryland.

The evening, even if he finally got Linda back to Arlington without needing to stop again at the money machines on K Street and in Rosslyn, had to cost Joe at least $100. Which is too much for a casual date he had not expected in the first place.

The point of the ad was "thank God for the money machines" that saved Joe's (social) life.

Other morals are possible. Other morals are sounder, to wit:

* Do not ask Linda, or Eenie or Meenie or Minie, to have a drink on the way home unless you really know what the hell you're getting into.

* Do not fool yourself that five bucks will take care of drinks, dinner for two (especially with Linda eating one of everything) wine, dancing and no telling what else. For once the spiral starts, there's no stopping it.

* Invest in a map of metropolitan Washington.