A GOOD way to begin the District Line's 34th year might be with the kind of smorgasbord that used to be standard fare here on Mondays -- the columns that were titled "Odds and Ends from a Columnist's Cuff" . . . Before she married, Margaret McCoy used to get a lot of teasing about her name. Fellow employees at the Washington Gas Light Co. were forever asking, "Are you the real McCoy?" Now that her name is Margaret Truman, she hears witty comments even more frequently . . . Ray Ward Taylor of Arlington has been driving for 50 years and has never had an accident of any kind. If more people could make a statement of that kind, everybody's insurance rates would be a lot lower . . . "Some things never die. Old postmen lose their ZIP and old gardeners get weeded out, but some things -- like rumors -- just won't go away." That was how an article by Barry Bradley began in the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times a few days ago. He was writing about the false story that if you save enough empty cigarette packages you can provide help for a needy person -- dialysis treatments for a kidney patient, a Seeing Eye dog for a blind person or free treatments on a lung machine. One woman in St. Pete had collected 600,000 empty packages.
"WHY DOESN'T Metrobus put out maps of its bus system?" asks Nancy McIntyre, who thinks the bus company would do a lot more business if people could consult a map of the system whenever the need arose. Every time I ask about maps I'm told the routes are changing too rapidly right now, but new maps will be available just as soon as things settle down . . . R. A. D. put 50 cents into a farecard machine in the Q Street (Dupont Circle) station and got back a card with zero value. He sent the card together with a check for $9.50 made out to Children's Hospital, and enclosed this message: "The attendant on duty rudely refused to believe that I had just paid 50 cents for this worthless card. If you have better luck with Metro than I had, you can add their 50 cents to my check. I'm betting Metro wouldn't steal from a sick child" . . . A superstitious District Liner has sent me a check for $25 for Children's Hospital. An accompanying note says, "Please give this check to Scott Chase. Procrastinated in sending it in. Got a flat tire, which was a good reminder. Same thing happened last year. Thanks to Buddy from Steuart Ford who changed my tire in teh middle land of Kenilworth Avenue in 30-degree weather during 6 p.m. traffic" . . . If you are also superstitious and want to ward off flat tires, you'd better get your check in to Scott right away. His deadline for this year's fund drive for Children's Hospital is Jan. 31. Your gift will be tax-deductible and will be used to make medical help available to needy children of every race and creed.
THE FIRST two days of responses to my column urging a boycott of the Moscow Olympic Games came from Olympic officials, sports broadcasters and (in one case) an athlete. The athlete had mixed feelings, but the officials and sportscasters were flatly opposed to a boycott. On the third day, letters from the general public began pouring in. All but one whooped with joy at the position I had taken. I don't know what the other writer's view of a boycott is. His letter was so sarcastic I couldn't tell which side he was on . . . Art Kosatka, who is now with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, writes, "Each time I have written you and been included in your column, it has been from a different job. The first time, I was a 10-year-old delivery boy. Now I'm 40. Funny -- you don't look that old" . . . That's because you can see only the outside, Art. Inside this handsome, youthful, vibrant exterior is an old man looking for a rocking chair . . . Do you have a room you'd like to rent to a foreign student of college age? The Foreign Student Service Council, "a private, nonprofit organization in its 24th year of encouraging cultural and educational exchange," would like to hear from you on 232-4979 . . . Joseph F. Condon informs me that many motorists are ignoring Washington's "No Turn On Reds" signs . . . And W. M. O'C. snipes, "I know why traffic deaths are declining in the District of Columbia. They've killed off so many pedestrians that few of us remain eligible to be added to those statistical tables" . . . To demonstrate how much free form spelling can help a poet, Owen J. Remington of Lancaster, Va., writes: Eeny, Khmeini, Khminey, Khmoe; It's time to let those hostages go" . . . Working mothers who wonder where to leave a note their teen-agers are sure to see might consider this advice from Wendell Trogdon: Try taping your note to the TV screen . . . Herm albright, witty columnist for the Perry Township (Ind.) Weekly, tells us what the male jogger asked the female jogger as they trotted along: "Your pace or mine?"