Great one the other Tuesday aboard a southbound L-2 Metrobus:
Operator Marshall P. Moore III of Clinton has been aiming a bus in the Washington area for a living since April 12, 1974. But he had spent his entire career in suburban Virginia, where they don't have DuPont Circles.
So when Moore faced Death-defying DuPont for the first time, he got confused. Instead of turning his L-2 south onto 19th Street, en route to K Street and the Federal Triangle, Moore went about 75 feet too far and turned south onto Connecticut Avenue.
It was not only Moore's first day on the route; it was the first run of his first day.
His mistake was the moral equivalent of grounding into a triple play your first time at bat in the major leagues.
The paying troops knew right away that Moore had done something wrong. Washington bus riders well know the scenery they pass -- and these L-2 folk knew that their morning "movie" does not include the front windows of Britches or the Dupont Theater.
But to their credit, the passengers didn't shout, or start leaning on the string that rings the out-at-the-next-stop bell. All they did was to rustle quietly in their seats, glancing out the window to see if maybe the mistake was theirs, then glancing to see if anyone else in the bus had noticed.
Marshall Moore had noticed.
He drove down Connecticut to the busy stop at M Street, where he jerked on the emergency brake. Then he leaned around the partition in back of his seat and announced: "Hey, people, I'm sorry. I'm really sorry."
But sorry was one thing, and getting back on track was another.
Not only is southbound Connecticut a rampaging stream of traffic on a weekday morning, difficult to negotiate in a clumsy bus. It's also illegal to make a rush-hour left turn from Connecticut onto any cross street between the Circle and I Street -- unless you count one-car-wide DeSales Street, and if you're driving a bus, you'd better not.
Besides, even if Moore had gone all the way to I Street and made his left, he'd still have had to make another left and a right to get onto K Street.
A lawyerly-looking fellow in the back anticipated the problem. As Moore edged away from M Street, the guy cried:
"Right! Turn right!" Which Moore did.
Then came another voice: "Left! Go left at the corner (of 19th)!" Which Moore also did, thus getting back on course and inconveniencing virtually nobody.
Still, to mess with someone's bus route is to assault one of the closest things in this modern world to a known fact. So one would have expected panic and mutters to have begun as soon as Moore got lost.
It's a pleasure to report that there wasn't a sound.
Proof positive that notoriety can be a dangerous thing:
In the October, 1978, issue of Chest, a pulmonary disease journal, a Miami Beach doctor named Marvin Sackner reported that chicken soup truly does help attack the symptoms of colds.
Sackner said a study he made indicated from the nasal passages at the rate of 9.2 millimeters a minute. The score for hot water: 8.4 millimeters. For cold water: 5.3 millimeters.
Ever since has discovery justified the pleadings of generations of mothers, however, Sackner has been besieged by the media. And even doctors seem to have been affected. "I've even seen orders on the chart in the hospital ordering chicken soup," Sackner said.
So he has now retrenched a couple of notches.
"I think the real message . . . is that you should be drinking warm fluids rather than cold fluids," Sackner said, in a recent interview.
"Whether it be tea or chicken soup, I don't really think it makes much difference."
Halfway-through-the-year witticism from a gent at the bar of the K Street Beefsteak Charlie's:
"I love July 1 because it's the only time of year when I can look backward or forward and see the same number of unpaid bills." Nudge to the area's funeral homes:
Distinctions between men and women should be pretty academic where death is concerned. So how come so many women are "devoted wife of" in your newspaper ads, and so many men are "beloved husband?" Aren't husbands devoted? Aren't wives beloved?
Nudge-within-a-nudge: why are surviving sons and grandsons so often listed ahead of surviving daughters and granddaughters?