They were a pair of red-and-white checked golf pants I bought a few years ago in one of my many misguided attempts to look "sporty." I wore them to Baltimore a couple of weeks ago when I attended an Orioles doubleheader.

I never did golf in the pants. Now I don't do anything in them. For the pants are dead.

I murdered them.

With good reason, too, your honor.

In the fourth inning of the first game, I went to the men's room.

In the sixth inning, I was still trying ro rezip the fly.

This wasn't your simple separated zipper problem. In the world of golf pants, apparently, the whole mechanism falls off into your palm. And refuses to be reassembled.

Of course, this was the day I had chosen to wear my one and only pair of lime green undershorts. If the pants are sporty, the "undies" should be, too, I remembered thinking while dressing that morning.

So this was a more conspicuous problem than it might have been. Suddenly, the only thing sporty about my situation was the noise of the crowd as it rumbled through the concrete foundation of the stadium.

I was at the game alone, so no help awaited me in the stands. Meanwhile, to judge from the sporty noises, I was doubtless missing huge home runs and leaping catches.

What to do?

I started by asking three responsible-looking men if they'd be kind enough to find me a safety pin somewhere.

If they had stayed around long enough to hear the nature of the problem, I'm sure they would have cooperated. As it was, they looked at me as if I was strange and departed with the speed of a leadoff-batter.

The teen-ager I approached a minute later wasn't much better.

"I came here to see baseball, not to help you," he said.

So there was nothing left but to gut it out. More than 17,000 people were at the doubleheader that night. I'm sure I heard at least half of them giggle as I walked briskly back to my seat.

Then came the true test: Sitting there for five more hours, with legs crossed.

When an Oriole hit a grand slam home run, and all around me bolted to their feet, I sat rooted to my chair, thinking of what a friend calls his New Murphy's Law of the 1970s:

Not only will something go wrong if it can, but it will go wrong in a huge and public way.

Right you were, pal.

As soon as the second game was over, I sprinted through the stands and the parking lot to the safety of the car. As soon as I was home, I curled the golf pants into a ball, stuffed them in the trash and stomped hard three times.

From now on, "sporty" means jeans off the rack.

Gerald Van Pool, of Kensington, has a friend in Houston who ran across the following form letter, the other day.

It's my early nomination for the 1979 "How to Get Even With The Forces of Evil" award. It's designed to be mailed to the oil company of your choice.

"Sir: Due to a money shortage, expecially in the Houston area, it will no longer be possible for me to mail my credit card payments.

"It will be necessary for a representative of your company to come by my house and pick it up each month.

"I will be available to dispense payments between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., and again from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, but will not be available on weekends.

"Should your representative encounter a line at my door, please advise him that I have others waiting and to be patient.

"It would be best if he could come only on odd numbered dates, as I have Mobil and Shell coming on even dates, and preferably before the 20th of each month, as my allocation of money will probably be gone by then.

"Also, the bills may not be payable in full, as I have allocated only 80 percent of last year's salary toward current bills.

"A green flag at my door indicates that the money supply is good, yellow indicates a possibility of payment, and red means your representative is too late...."

Marie Ripley of Laurel says she heard this one told from the dais of the Women's National Democratic Club. The raconteur was Bert Lance.

Seems a patient was about to get a new heart via a transplant. The doctor asked him to choose between the hearts of:

A 25-year-old athlete.

A 40-year-old reporter.

A 65-year-old Republican banker.

Without hesitation, the patient chose the banker's heart.

Asked why, he explained: "It's never been used."

Ripley asks that we "excuse the partisanship." But she adds that, in her opinion, the patient would do "as well with Henry Kissinger's or Alexander Haig's."