You thought you'd heard every pothole story imaginable? Keep reading. This one proves that those craters are at least useful in proving one's case to an officer of the law.

A musician from Chevy Chase was driving home from a rehearsal at about 11 p.m. on the night of St. Patrick's Day. At 16th Street and Colorado Avenue NW, one of Washington's Finest pulled him over.

"I've been following you," the policeman said. "You've been weaving. Have you had anything to drink? Let me see your driver's license."

The musician denied having had a drink. Understandably suspicious, since it was one of the wettest evenings of the year, the policeman tested the musician by moving a pencil from side to side. But the musician's eyes followed in perfect order. Drunk he wasn't.

But licenseless he was. He had forgotten to bring the blasted thing.

The policeman could have given the musician a $35 ticket on the spot. But first, the policeman asked why the musician had been weaving.

Because he had been avoiding the potholes all the way up 16th Street, the musician said.

Most cops would have declared this a typical cock-and-bull story, and started writing out name, rank and serial number. But this cop was a realist.

"I know, I know," the cop said. "Aren't they terrible? Worst potholes in town." Whereupon he said never mind about the license and never mind about the ticket, got in his scout car and sped away.