Hot game around town: Trivial Pursuit. Hot topic around town: why are TP answers often dead wrong, and laughably so? . . . .I dare you to out-dopey this one, submitted by a puzzled Jim Holley of Vienna . . . .Question: "What former U.S. President's daughter wrote a novel entitled 'Murder in the White House?' " . . . .Answer given by the TP Truth Card: "Harry S. Truman" . . . .Margaret Truman Daniel would be awfully surprised by that, thinks Jim . . . .I figure H.S.T., who was never anybody's daughter, would be, too . . . .How do you fight back against this mindlessness -- or account for it, in light of T.P.'s $30 price tag? . . . .In our house, we've made a special rule . . . .If you come upon an obvious clinker like Jim's, you get to put it aside and take another question . . . . Meanwhile, instead of pursuing trivia (and profits), shouldn't the game company pursue some question-editors who know which way is up? . . . .
Some cynic once said that beating a fellow American out of a buck is the national pastime, not baseball . . . .Cashier in a Connecticut Avenue self-service gas station has mastered the buck-beating art just beautifully, reports Creighton Mark of Friendship Heights . . . .In need of gas, Creighton marched up to one of those glass-encased huts with a tray that pushes out . . . .He asked for $14 worth, and placed that much in the tray. But he pumped only $13 worth. So back he went to ask for a $1 refund . . . ."You didn't give me $14. You only gave me $13," said the cashier . . . .Without a receipt, what could Creighton do but sit back and enjoy being stolen from? . . . .Which makes me wonder: why don't gas station cashiers offer receipts routinely to avoid exactly this "misunderstanding?" . . . .
Speaking of Commercial Creativity, several callers have gotten nipped by this one lately . . . .Phone rings in Typical Office and voice says: "I'm from the copier service company. We understand you're having trouble with your copying machine" . . . .Phone answerer usually says, "Gee, uh, first I've heard of it" . . . .Voice then says, "Well, it was reported this morning, and I'm planning to come out this afternoon. By the way, let me double check. What make is your machine again?" . . . .Usually, the phone answerer will innocently divulge that information, whereupon two things happen . . . .A) No repairman shows up, because the machine isn't broken, and never was . . . .B) Now that he knows the make of Typical Office's copier, a salesman calls the chief of purchasing to offer a super-special deal on the appropriate supplies . . . .Ingenious, yes . . . . Scammish, yes again . . . .
Do you believe, as I do, that mentally ill people will get better faster if they're given a chance to prove themselves at low-stress jobs? . . . . Do you know of such a job? . . . . The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill can provide needy candidates . . . .NAMI is at 1200 15th St. NW., Washington, D.C., 20005 (833-3530) . . . .
Any groups out there that were born in 1886? . . . .The Boys' and Girls' Clubs of Greater Washington were founded 98 years ago, and they're already casting a fond look forward to one heck of a birthday party in 1986 . . . .But they'd like to contact other organizations that will celebrate One Hundredhood the same year . . . .Idea is to collaborate, so the bash can be that much bashier . . . .Takers please call 462-4438 . . . .
Amen Award to Marian Norby of Arlington . . . .She's steamed over what seems to happen all too often when she calls a friend . . . . She says, "Hi, this is Marian," and the friend says, "Hi, what can I do for you?" . . . .Not how are you. Not good to hear from you. Not nice weather we're having . . . .Says Marian: Let's leave "What can I do for you?" to the clerk behind the counter . . . .
At last, a good non-sexist gag about Geraldine Ferraro! . . . .Steve Scholari of College Park says she isn't qualified to be president . . . .Hasn't starred in enough Grade B war movies . . . . And can you top this one about The Incumbent? . . . . "Personally," says Bob Orben, "I never really believed the president dozed off in cabinet meetings until I heard the entire cabinet saying, 'There he goes again!' " . . . .