I can help Marriott but not the Senate, though each outfit has been in hot water over social policy. The Senate, of course, has dropped another point in general esteem for Daniel Inouye's dazzling and daffy scheme to give $8 million of our easily won tax dollars to teach French Jews (immigrated from North Africa) all about Judaism and their ancient cultural heritage.

Some say oh, my. Why should we pay for that? But the Hawaiian Democrat, in what strikes me as a borderline example of anti-Jewish rhetoric, says look, it's cheaper to do this kind of thing in France. Otherwise, they might all come here, and how'd you like that?

Well, there's not much anybody can do about Congress or about the senator's brains. If pressed further (a thing I never recommend when dealing with nitwits) he may trot out the argument that it's cheaper to fund the African Jews in Paris than in Israel. And as for the basic assumption -- that these immigrants have to be taught their religion and culture in schools -- the senator probably thinks they need all kinds of special training and encouragement, because how can you keep them down on the farm after they've seen Paree?

These modest little million-dollar handouts are probably not worth getting upset about. They will continue as long as the republic lasts. Why waste time on such trifles, especially as we can light a candle in the Marriott crisis.

Which, you recall, began when a Miss Mitchell who works at a Marriott hotel was told to get rid of her cornrows hairdo. That coiffure consists of roughly parallel tight braids with space between, just as in a field you have a row of corn with space between rows for the tractor.

The first time I ever saw such a hairdo I thought it was marvelous. It reminded me of a model of the Ulm Cathedral made out of toothpicks that I saw when I was 10. It takes forever to do the hair that way, but then it lasts for weeks and may be labor-saving in the long run.

But back to the Marriott problem. They do not want workers of flamboyant appearance traipsing about their hotel. They had to decide whether Miss Mitchell's hair made her look bizarre. Miss Mitchell, for her part, applied for federal relief from persecution, but Marriott wisely backed down and said her hair looked okay, after all.

It certainly does look more than okay. It is neat, smart, frisky, eminently practical, and I cannot imagine anybody in the world not admiring it.

Good. Crisis dealt with. But wait, here comes a Marriott spokesman of quite dim vision who cannot let well alone. He volunteered what to me is clearly additional fuel to the fire, which had seemed put out until he sounded off.

Miss Mitchell's hair is okay, he said, but of course the Marriott objection would be to cornrows with "beads in them or wires." Also, these hairdos would not do if "outlandishly sculptured {sic}."

Hold on. Does he mean that Miss Mitchell could be fired if she had two little black beads worked in at the back where the hair falls into tight stalactites? What if she had used a hairpin somewhere?

Does Marriott really want to get into the business of counting beads (if two black ones are all right, what about 400 orange, purple and gold ones including some that light up) or pawing about for bits of wire?

What if the worker wove some patriotic bunting into the scalpish ensemble for the Fourth of July? Could she be fired for that? Would it be okay if she sported a silk rainbow?

Lady Mountbatten used to ride all over India bold as a lion with plumes sticking out of her head (and these were from endangered birds) and nobody tried to fire her. Or does Marriott mean to say there's one standard for Lady Mountbatten (and Helen Taft, for that matter) and another for Miss Mitchell, just because she has a common name and heads of government don't fawn over her? What's going on at Marriott, anyway -- they got some problem with American democracy? They want everybody to look like a gray communist or Quaker? And come to think of it I once sat at a dinner with an elderly man named Marriott and he didn't look so hot, and moreover was quite dull in conversation. What's Marriott doing about bores? They ought to encourage, not persecute, the bright spots like Miss Mitchell's cornrows.

The main thing, when by the grace of God you've somehow managed to squeak out of a dumb embarrassment you got yourself into, is not to go forward with additional reflections about beads and wires. Just let it alone and be thankful.