Metro calls them Farecards. But maybe we ought to rename them Wear-n-TearCards. What we subway riders put those little slips through shouldn't happen to a dog.

One guy I know uses Farecards to pick his teeth.

Another guy, a smoker, uses a Farecard to scrape up the ashes he sometimes accidentally drops on his couch.

A third guy once left his Farecard in a grocery bag by mistake. He later used the bag to line his garbage pail, with the card still inside. When Our Boy realized what had happened and fished out the card, it had been coated with tomato paste for more than two days, and it smelled like something from another galaxy.

But a few wipes with a sponge, and the card worked like a charm. So did a card belonging to Doris Meyn of Southwest. But listen to how Doris brought her card back from the dead:

"This morning," she writes, "I discovered that to my chagrin, I'd inadvertently hand-laundered a new card worth $9.80. Not only that, but the slacks had been soaked for over an hour in a heavy-duty pre-soak detergent, the type that removes color from buttons and thread after repeated washings."

Doris was late for work, so it was Decision Time. She made a remarkable one: dry off the card in a microwave oven.

"To my utter astonishment," says Doris, "the card worked perfectly in the turnstiles."

If only the machine that sells you the card were equally indestructible.