With Metro in such dire need of money, Dr. Donal M. Ross of Bethesda had little hope of getting a refund after he inadvertantly stuffed a $20 bill plus two quarters into the fare box of a bus at Montgomery Mall. But Sandy Perkins of Metro's Consumer Assistance Office was able to confirm that Ross had indeed put a $20 bill into the fare box, so he was sent a $19 refund. . . . When Jane Woods of Brookeville, Md., received a circular saying that her name "had been selected by a computer" for the priviledge of buying a 16-inch chain for $13 plus $2 postage ($2 for postage on a 16-inch chain?), she did the generous thing. She sent it to me together with a message saying, "I have received so many of these golden opportunities lately that I decided it would be selfish of me not to share my good fortune." Thanks, Jane, but my neck size is 17. I would have to wear a 16-inch chain on my wrist.
After I wrote about Soviet interference with the Polish workers' movement, Jennifer Collins of Springfield sent me a clipping from a newspaper put out by Local 1923 of the American Federation of Government Employees. It says that the AFL-CIO has contributed $25,000 to establish a Polish Workers Aid Fund and asks sympathizers to send their contributions in care of "AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer, 815 16th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20006." Make your check to the fund, not to the AFL-CIO. Note: The clipping does not say whether IRS will consider contributions tax-deductible. . . . R.M. Clendenin of Frederick reports that he sent a parcel post package to Garden City, N.Y., and that it took 20 days to be delivered. If the wager was large enough, I'd be willing to bet that even an old man like me could walk the 250 miles between Frederick and Garden City in 20 days. . . . Owen J. Remington of Lancaster, Va., comments, "'America,' which used to be considered our national athem, is seldom heard now. Remember when we used to stand up in school to sing, 'My Country 'Tis of Thee'?" Yep, I sure do. But these days "America the Beautiful" and "God Bless America" are much more popular. . . . John Clayton Pennylegion of Sterling writes, "If we must pay Iran anything, it ought to be in Susan B. Anthony dollars."
After I wrote that Ronald Reagan is the 39th man to serve as president of the United States, not the 40th, Gretchen Van Pool discussed the issue with the second grade class she teaches at Bannockburn Elementary School and the children agreed with her: Grover Cleveland was one man, not two. The issue is not new, of course. For example, in 1964 the Bureau of Engraving and Printing began offering for sale sets of engraved portraits of all our presidents, including our "36th," Lyndon B. Johnson. The next day the bureau received an inquiry from Roger J. Brunnel of Strassburg, Va., who wanted to know whether there would be two pictures of Cleveland in the set. In due course he received a reply asking him how many sets he'd like to buy, but his question was ignored. . . . Marion Holland of Chevy Chase raised an eyebrow at a Washington Post headline that used ires as a verb. Some dictionaires accept it as a verb, some do not. I suppose one must forgive ires as a verb in headlines in which there is not enough room for angers, but I don't like it. . . . Billie E. Stair of Bethesda wonders what manner of bird-lover cut down and stole two bird feeders she had put up. . . . If your senator was too busy to talk to you personally the last time you phoned, consider this: During the 96th Congress (1979-80), Sen. Charles H. Percy (R-Ill.) made 55 trips back to Illinois and spent 133 days visiting 99 different communities in that state.
Vagrant thought: Has the mean average temperature in Washington been getting meaner?. . . Ethel B. Nickens, who is a native Washingtonian, is irked by news stories that say the new administration is going to bring "class and culture" to Our Town, and I don't blame her. The new administration may put a bit more emphasis on formal attire and procedures, but neither class nor culture are determined by the wearing of a full dress suit. . . . Comedian Danny Klayman writes, "We should have let Billy Carter negotiate with the Iranians. There's a guy who went to Libya, came back with $220,000, and gave them nothing in return."