To paraphrase that musical comedy number from "Oklahoma!," everything's up to date in Washington City -- except maybe the city government's listings in the telephone directory.
Ellen Handley, a longtime resident of Southeast Washington, called in high dudgeon the other day with a reasonable complaint, that the D.C. government hasn't kept its listings current in the C&P Telephone Co. book.
Her story: To participate in a party planned by Providence Hospital for those who were born there in its century of existence, Handley wanted to get duplicate birth certificates for family members. She looked in the 1985 telephone book and saw that the D.C. listing for "Birth Death Marriage & Divorce Records" is 615 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
She went there but discovered the building, which formerly housed the old Univac computer center, has been torn down. In fact, it was torn down about three years ago.
She then called the phone number ostensibly listed at the 615 Pennsylvania Ave. address. A recorded announcement said the records were available at 425 I St. NW, so she went there to get the certificates.
So far, so good.
But a few days ago, Handley said, the new 1986 telephone directory arrived on her doorstep. She looked up the "Birth Death . . . Records" entry.
It's still listed at 615 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
P.S. -- I used the phrase "high dudgeon" in this item, then got to wondering where it came from. The dictionary says loosely that it originated with reaching one's hand onto the dudgeon -- the upper hilt -- of a dagger one is prepared to draw when one is "very angry, offended or resentful." Dig Those Politicians
This story was passed along by the office of D.C. City Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4).
Jarvis, who heads the council's economic development committee, found herself on Monday alongside Mayor Marion Barry at a groundbreaking for a new Washington Beef Co. facility in Northeast Washington.
Both had spades for the ceremonial first shovelful, but Jarvis had trouble breaking the ground. "Let me help you," Barry reportedly told Jarvis. "No thank you, Mr. Mayor," she is said to have replied, "I can dig up my own dirt." An Angry Union
From an employe union group affiliated with the AFL-CIO, the Congressional Research Employees Association, comes a news release noting that more than 200 employes in the Madison Building of the Library of Congress were given blood tests for possible lead contamination. Laboratory tests of the building's drinking water system had shown excessive lead content, leading to a cutoff of the drinking fountains. Water in the rest rooms and cafeteria was okay.
The union was angry: "The library should not be allowed off the hook . . . . for not informing employes soon enough about potential dangers to their health," said union Vice President Jean Jones.
The situation has its lighter side. On one floor of the library building, someone posted a couple of hand-lettered signs: The drinking fountain was labeled "leaded," while a sign pointing toward the nearby men's room was labeled "unleaded, high test."