Beefs we asked for, beefs we got. Here's what's bugging Bob Levey's Washingtonians:
Hannah Biemiller of Bethesda laments callers who allow an answerer only three rings before they give up and hang up.
"Do they think I live in a phone booth?" asks Hannah. "Do they think I have been sitting by the phone all day? Do they think?"
Answering a phone at a business is no easier on the nerves, to judge from the experience of Mary Brick of Falls Church.
"I'm a secretary for one of the departments in a large bank here in the District," Mary writes. "I would say my biggest problem is with people who, when they realize they have the wrong number, simply hang up. No acknowledgement, let alone an apology.
"What do they think I'm going to do? Yell at them?"
From Cheverly come two beefs that had me nodding my head.
First, this reader decries the labels on prescription drug containers. Have you seen the new editions? Their backgrounds are dark blue, deep purple -- any color except white. As my correspondent points out, it's pretty hard to read the name of what's inside.
Second, she wonders why "middle aged people on TV talk shows are dressed in jeans and knit shirts. They don't have to have a three-piece suit, but certainly should wear slacks and sports jacket, I think."
My analysis, Ms. Cheverly, is that these people are trying too hard to prove that they're still with it. To these eyes, the harder they try, the less they succeed.
First of two sports beefs comes from Bruce R. Kessler Sr. of Bethesda.
"I am 77 and a native of the area," Bruce writes. "I have followed high school, college and professional basketball from the time I was in short pants . . . .
"My gripe: the use of the word 'kids' by college coaches . . . when referring to the young men on their teams."
Amen, Bruce. I'm especially puzzled by coaches who call their players "kids" to their faces. I can understand one coach using the term when speaking to another coach, or to his wife. But why insult your own players, particularly when your job depends on them?
From Harrisonburg, Va., comes a cry for equal treatment, emitted by a James Madison University student:
Why, asks David B. Schulte, does The Post's sports department "consistently refer to the University of Virginia as a 'local' or 'area' school? The University of Virginia is basically no closer to Washington, D.C., than James Madison . . . . "
It's not a matter of miles, David, or of which team has a better basketball record this year. U-Va. is the main public college in a state in which more than one-third of our readers live. Thousands of Northern Virginia high school graduates go there each year. Thousands of Northern Virginia taxpayers keep the place in light bulbs. The same can't be said for JMU -- or for the University of Richmond, Virginia Union College or Randolph-Macon College, all of which are about as close to D.C. as Charlottesville.
Cheryl Zier of Upper Marlboro submitted a counterbeef.
Recently, I quoted a reader as saying he couldn't bear background music during TV programs. To Cheryl, however, those invisible strings "really heighten the tension."
"For instance, in 'Psycho,' Janet Leigh was simply taking a shower, but that 'pweet, pweet, pweet' of music added to the terror of that upraised butcher knife. I know the earlier beef was about background music on TV, but I don't think there's any difference."
On second thought, Cheryl, I'm with you -- as long as the music underscores the dramatic mood, rather than overwhelms it.
Finally, Sam Rosenberg of Northwest beefs about the frequently misplaced modifier "only."
"Writers who are frequently guilty of this sin are The Post's editors and reporters, including a certain Bob Levey," Sam writes. "Do you know him?"
Never heard of the guy, Sam. Or should I say, "I've only met him a few times"?