Be glad you don't work in the same office as a woman named Becky. She is trapped a few cubicles downrange from a co-worker who can't seem to shake his mother.
Mom calls Sonny Boy about 10 times a day. He calls her another 10. "And these are not how-ya-doing kinds of calls, Bob," Becky told me. "These are loud, Freudian, deeply vicious attacks by one on the other, and then counterattacks by the attacked on the attacker."
Becky's co-worker is no child. "I'd say he's in his early thirties," she said. "He's nice enough, and easy enough to be around. But then Mama calls. Or he calls her. And the heavy artillery starts again."
Becky says others who work within earshot have learned to tune out the mother-son fireworks. "But I'm having a hard time doing it," Becky told me. She asked if I had any ideas that wouldn't make anything worse, or anyone homicidal.
I asked whether Becky had told the boss about the constant disruptions. "I wouldn't rat him out just because he's having trouble with his mother," she said.
But aren't the hostilities making it hard for Becky to do her job? "Yes, but it's hard to do my job on a Monday after the Redskins win, too," she said. "If I complained about every conversation around here, they'd elect me Wimp Woman of the Western World."
Has Becky tried to talk to Sonny Boy about this? "I don't know how I'd raise it," she said.
"Just raise it, as diplomatically as you can," I said. Becky said this would be too awkward.
Finally, she proposed an idea--an anonymous note, left on the man's chair, asking that he confine mother-son acrimony to non-work hours. I vetoed it as being wimpier than tattling to the boss.
She asked if I had any other brilliances floating around in my head.
I suggested getting a copy of company policy on personal phone calls. Surely this man is way, way beyond what's permitted. Leave that on his chair, rather than an anonymous purple note.
Maybe the calls will decline to a bearable few.
Group givers are flocking to the fore. Here are the most recent to have made contributions to our annual fund-raising campaign on behalf of Children's Hospital:
Kensington Bridge Club ($112).
Bell Atlantic Directory Group, IS Chesapeake Complex, Silver Spring ($1,161 via a holiday bake sale).
Staff, Montessori Country School, Herndon ($280).
Open Door Class, First United Methodist Church, Hyattsville ($265).
Staff, Joint Committee on Taxation ($615 collected at the Christmas party).
Beverly Farms Children's Center, Potomac ($185).
Communications Division and Government Relations Division, National Association of Elementary School Principals, Alexandria ($175).
Staff, Transportation Research Board, National Academy of Sciences, Northwest Washington ($1,050, this group's wonderful, incredible 34th consecutive contribution).
Head Start staff, Broad Acres Elementary School, Montgomery County ($10 in honor of Mary Kate Ryner).
Student Government Association, Stonegate Elementary School, Silver Spring (untold gazillions in coins, with special thanks to sponsors Leah Woolington and Laurie Roberts and chief deliverer Lynn Murphy).
Washington Post Annual Cookie Orgy (a high-calorie $9,630 from editorial and commercial employees, with special thanks to Aimee Sanders).
Marlborough Does No. 235 ($100).
Greggs Mail Marketing, Rockville ($10).
Lorton Unit 162, American Legion Auxiliary ($75).
Donald Coffman Distributors, Laurel ($249).
GES Exposition Services, Las Vegas ($100).
Ladies Auxiliary, Forestville Volunteer Fire Department ($50).
Alpha Sigma Tau, Northern Virginia Alumnae Chapter ($140).
Thursday Morning Sunshiners Bowling League ($60).
Team 3, Communications Services, Aspen Systems Corp., Rockville ($125, with thanks to Beverly Cook).
Annandale Tuesday Morning Stars Bowling League ($105, with thanks to Cleetta Schrimper).
Johnson's Flower and Garden Centers ($702.25 from an end-of-season nursery sale).
The Women of St. Barnabas, Temple Hills ($53).
Society of the Emeriti, George Washington University ($100).
The Fisher Law Group ($200).
Staff members, Center for Counseling and Career Services and Ballston Career Center, Marymount University ($150 in lieu of a gift exchange).
Fifth-grade Catholic education class, Saint John Neumann Catholic Church, Reston ($2 in lieu of a gift exchange).
Store managers, District 7, Giant Food Stores ($375 in honor of Jan Schliep).
Office of Cosmetics and Colors, Food and Drug Administration ($407, the 20th consecutive year that this bunch has made a donation).
Staff, the Heritage Foundation ($4,030 from this always-generous crew, with special thanks to the always-wonderful Herb Berkowitz).
Team Submarine Pancake Breakfast ($750, of which $500 came from the Burke Consortium. Special thanks to the one and only Steve Bonwich).
Social Committee, Mantua Elementary School, Fairfax ($100 to honor the top brass, Ellen Schoetzau, Jan-Marie Fernandez and Jay McClain).
Accounting Department, Reilly Mortgage Group Inc., Tysons Corner ($100).
Building 10 Coffee Mess, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt ($450).
Intersections Fulfillment, CreditComm Services LLC, Fairfax ($147.66).
Washington D.C. Area Browns Backers ($550 from these displaced fans of the Cleveland NFL franchise, with special thanks to that fellow who bleeds brown and orange, Daniel W. Duncan).
Many thanks, each and every one.
Our goal by Jan. 21: $650,000.
In hand as of Dec. 31: $381,072.90.
TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE CAMPAIGN:
Make a check or money order payable to Children's Hospital and mail it to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. 20071.
BY VISA OR MASTERCARD:
Call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 on a touch-tone phone. Then punch in K-I-D-S, or 5437, and follow instructions.