"Good heavens fellow, a history of coronary trouble should not be used to deny a man the joys of eating chili," writes Joseph C. Golden of Arlington.

"Presumably your cardiologist keeps it off your diet because most versions found around here are thick with grease.

"As soon as cold weather arrives, I intend to cook up a batch of chili that is absolutely greaseless because it is made with goat meat, not beef.

"This is a recipe that I developed while living in the Blue Ridge Mountains last year. It was adjudged 'best of show' at the Page County chili cooking contest.

"Check with your physician. If he still says no, fire him. If he says yes, I'll slip you a bowl.

"Guffaws were heard all over town at your reporter's line about Tabasco being an ingredient of chili. But let the poor fellow be: in my native Texas we are taught from childhood not to criticize three things: the way a makes a fire, the way a man makes love and the way a man makes chili."

Heart patients and cardiologists do not work out diets through bilateral negotiations, Joe. The cardiologist gave me instructions, not explanations, so I don't know why salt and spices must be severely limited. I just know they must, and I have learned to live without them - ususally. THE LAST WORD

After I quoted Calvin Griffith as saying that the Boh sign and the football scoreboard in Grifith Stadium were one and the same. I received a phone call from a gravel-voiced reader who got right to the point.

"Do you believe him?" he asked. I said, "Sure, why shouldn't I?" And he growled, "Because he's the guy who said he'd never move the Senators, and then moved them."

My caller may be interested to know that he doesn't have to take Calvin's word; I now have visual proof from Paul L. Wagner, the Brentwood signman. Paul wrote that he was commissioned to paint the sign "around 1948," and he sent along a set of snapshots taken at that time. Case closed STAMP ACT

Larry Fox of our national desk stopped me in the newsroom and said, "I'm surprised your readers haven't noticed the terrible error in the new 15-cent flag stamp."

I couldn't believe my ears. A misprint that wasn't detected by a least a few of our eagle-eyed District Liners? Impossible!

Larry held out a 15-cent stamp dominated by a painting of an American flag. "How many stripes does it have?" he asked. I counted 15, and the wheels started turning in my brain, but they turned so slowly that Fox was amused by my perplexity.

"I'm sure it's not a mistake," I said. "Back in colonial times we had a lot of flag designs, and I think a 15-striper was among them. Have one of your bright young men look it up."

"You're too smart," Fox said. "I've already had one of our bright young women look it up."

He handed me a memo-to-the-desk from staff writer Loretta Tofani. It said, "The stamp represents an American flag between 1795 and 1818, when there were 15 states and when it was the practice to add a stripe and a star for each new state. The practice was ended in 1818 when new territories were clamoring for statehood. Congress voted to have a star for each new state and 13 stripes for the original colonies. The flag on the stamp, known as the Fort McHenry flag, flew over Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the war of 1812. In 1814 it inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner, and that is why the words "The Land Of The Free, The Home Of The Brave" appear next to the flag on the stamp."

Don McDowell, manager of the Postal Service's stamp development branch, originated the idea of using the Fort McHenry stamp on the new 15-center. Designer Jack Ruther of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing examined the flag at the Smithsonian and agreed with McDowell that it would provide people with "an excellent little history lesson."

The stamp went on sale at Fort McHenry on June 30 and was available nationwide the next day.

It didn't take long, says Fran Feldman of USPS, before a half dozen letters arrived saying, "Ahah! You've made a mistake."

District Liners know better, of course, but some of us who have been out of school for a while do have one minor problem. We know everything there is to know - but we can't remember much of it.