Even the smallest things become legends in this town. So it has gone with Fawn Hall and her banana.

Within minutes of the former's arrest for consuming the latter in the Metro Center subway station, the jokes started. Followed by the slightly bawdy songs. Followed now by the bumper stickers. Latest bumperesque brilliance:


Amid all the yuks, we mustn't lose sight of this: Oliver North's famous secretary was wrong to eat a banana in the subway, and the Metro police officer who handed her a $10 ticket was right. If we make exceptions for "just one banana," we'll soon be making exceptions for chili, pizza and who knows what else? Vermin won't be far behind.

But Martha Boltz of Vienna raises an interesting question. If Fawn Hall's banana was a $10 sin, how big a sin are a gyro and a bottle of wine?

Martha asks because of an incident that took place aboard an Orange Line train on Oct. 4. As she was riding to RFK Stadium for a Redskins game, Martha noticed the aroma of roasted onions.

She turned around. A few seats away was a couple. They were each consuming a gyro (that's a spicy Greek sandwich, garnished with onions). And they were each slugging from a bottle of beaujolais.

A romantic scene, to be sure. Also illegal. Still, the game was about to begin, so Martha didn't pursue the matter until Fawn Hall did her Metro munching a couple of weeks later.

The answer is that gyro-plus-wine would have cost the same $10 that Fawn Hall had to pay. So would a hamburger. So would a horse. The law provides a $10 fine for consuming anything in the subway. It doesn't prescribe stiffer penalties for the stiffer aroma of onions.

But come to think of it, maybe we should suspend fines for gyro eaters and insist that they sell some of their favorite sandwiches to the ayatollah.

The sellers can give the proceeds to the contras, or keep them, as they like. A few gyros would serve Iran's great humanitarian leader -- and his digestion -- right.

My Oct. 23 column has borne fruit -- more fruit than I thought it would bear.

On that day, I wrote about two unknown samaritans who administered CPR to three rock and roll fans who were hit by lightning outside the Capital Centre. The family of one victim wanted to thank the samaritans, I wrote, but no one knew who they were.

Turns out there were more than two.

Joseph Hatajik of Alexandria said that he and his brother-in-law, Dr. Daniel Greeler of Pennsylvania, were among the first to try to help the victims.

Joseph didn't know the first thing about CPR, but he learned plenty fast that stormy night. Dr. Dan started working on one lightning victim. At the same time, he shouted CPR instructions to Joseph, who was working on another just a few feet away.

However, other witnesses report that Stephanie Trimmer also administered CPR to one victim. So did Matt Mills, a 17-year-old student and CPR instructor at Falls Church High School.

Great work by all of you!

Another CPR story, this one involving a dog.

Oct. 21 was about as miserable as a day can get for Derek and Ellen Sutcliffe of Landover Hills. Their home on 66th Avenue burned nearly to the ground that afternoon, thanks to a faulty electrical connection in the laundry room.

The fire began at about 2:15 p.m. When Ellen and the kids got home two hours later, firefighters had only just gotten the blaze under control.

As Ellen got out of her car, in a daze, a fireman came up to her and said: "You better shake this man's hand."

The man was Edwin Becker of Laurel. He had saved Kita, the family dog, with CPR.

Edwin had happened past the house as firemen were working to knock down the blaze. He asked if any pets were inside. A cat and a dog had been, the firemen replied, but both appeared to be dead.

Edwin didn't give up that easily. The cat was indeed dead. But the dog -- half doberman and half Japanese akita -- appeared to have a chance.

So Edwin performed CPR on the dog -- for half an hour.

That was amazing enough. Even more so was the risk Edwin ran. Kita is an attack dog by breeding. Ellen says Kita "might have nipped the man's nose off" if he had woken up and disliked what he saw.

Mercifully, though, Kita liked it very much. He felt the same about an emergency visit to the vet that same afternoon. A few days later, Kita had "a little cough," Ellen said. But otherwise, he was fine.

A giant round of applause for Edwin Becker.