Priorities, priorities. We all must weigh one imperative against another.

One upper-middle-level federal official (who wants to remain nameless) had to choose his own priorities a while back when he was mugged in broad daylight -- about 4 p.m. -- near the Greyhound bus station at 12th Street and New York Avenue NW.

The choice was between getting necessary medical treatment and getting home. He chose the latter.

The man was near his office when a couple of young thugs approached him, one demanding, "Give us your money!"

"Bug off," replied the victim, whereupon he got a fist to the face and crumpled to the sidewalk. But before the robbers could grab his wallet, they were scared off by a nearby siren -- from a passing ambulance, it turned out.

The victim got up, dusted himself off and considered his options. The only express train home on the Baltimore & Ohio's Maryland commuter service would soon depart, and he chose to be on it. So, bleeding from the jaw and limping painfully from a World War II leg injury that the attack reaggravated, he called his secretary and asked her to arrange with his wife for him to be picked up near the platform.

He flagged down a taxi and caught the train, was met by his wife an hour or so later and was taken to the local hospital in his bedroom community. And for days he had to use crutches even to get to the bathroom.

Did he ever call the D.C. police? "No," he said. "No reason -- it all happened so fast I couldn't identify the expletives deleted anyway."