Quick Takes

The National Speakers Association has just made me (and, I suspect, many of you) feel reallllllll old . . . .A blurb they send their speakers reminds them that the median age in the United States of America is now 24 . . . .That means 96 percent of the people in an average audience do not remember the start of the federal income tax, 92 percent don't remember World War I, 92 percent don't remember when women couldn't vote, 86 percent don't remember the stock market crash, 74 percent don't recall the Great Depression, 68 percent don't remember World War II, 65 percent can't remember life without TV, 59 percent were not around for the Korean War, 53 percent are not old enough to remember the launch of Sputnik, 44 percent don't recall the assassination of President Kennedy and 32 percent don't recall the day the first human landed on the moon . . . .The clincher was phrased this way: "When you refer to someone as a GI, just remember that 149,600,000 Americans won't know what you're talking about . . . ."

TV football inanity of the week, as heard by Jack Guinan of Kensington . . . .Analyst (name unknown) declares that a running back "tried to go between a hole that wasn't there!" . . . .

My favorite sports headshaker of 1985 sprang from baseball, and from the mouth of New York Yankees announcer Phil Rizzuto . . . .He revealed to his listeners the startling fact that "Friday the 13th falls on a Friday this year . . . ."

Here's a published sportsism that's bugging readers, and should . . . .Larry Hayes was reading an account of a Denver Broncos football game (in, mercifully, a different journal than this one) . . . ."Kicker Rich Karlis missed his first field goal attempt of the season after eight straight successes," the story said . . . .As Larry points out, Karlis missed his ninth field goal attempt of the season, not his first . . . .

"I thought I was hallucinating," said the woman on the phone . . . .I listened to her story and said, "I think you were" . . . .Seems the woman was heading south on the Beltway near the College Park exit when she noticed an 18-wheeler in the lane beside hers . . . .The two vehicles drove virtually side by side all the way to the U.S. 50 exit in Landover . . . .During that time, the trucker never tailgated anybody, never airhorned anybody, never flashed his brights in anybody's mirror and never exceeded 55 miles an hour . . . .And get this: As he got off at U.S. 50, he used his turn signal!!!!! . . . .Hope you got a good look at this display, folks, because it'll never happen again . . . .

Colleague Tom Lippman tells of a street person crashed out in an L Street doorway with a sign around his neck that read: I'M HUNGRY . . . .Woman, passing by, notices man and sign, reaches into purse and offers man a sandwich wrapped in plastic . . . ."What is it?" I'M HUNGRY asks . . . .Tom can't hear her answer because of the din of passing traffic. But he hears I'M HUNGRY say loud and clear, "No, no, I don't like that kind" . . . .

We have only 15 years and change to figure this one out, so we'd better get started . . . .Sue Flores of Dumfries says it drives her bonkers to hear people refer to the year-of-our-lord 2001 as "two thousand one" . . . ."I say twenty-oh-one. Much easier to say," says Sue . . . .I'm not sure which way I lean on this one . . . .Readers? . . . .

Want to learn to be a Santa? You can do it free, and in plenty of time for December, at any of four two-hour classes, one of them tonight . . . .School is The Wonder Company, a Connecticut Avenue promotion outfit whose graduates have served as Ho-Ho-Ho-Men (and -Women) for dozens of businesses and holiday occasions over the years . . . .What does it take to be a good Saint Nick? . . . ."Physically, you have to be between 5-2 and 5-6," said chief Santa trainer Joe Jeff Goldblatt. "You can be skinny or heavy, male or female. But the most important requirement is that you have a deep love of children" . . . .Call 966-9777 if you fill the bill . . . .

Mike Steele and Steve Sudduth headed for the Midwest a couple of weeks ago on a Federalville Football Followers' Fantasy . . . .It turned out to be rated H for Horrendous . . . .First, the guys saw the Maryland Terrapins get waxed by Michigan in Ann Arbor, 20-0 . . . .Next day, they witnessed the Redskins getting squashed by the Bears in Chicago, 45-10 . . . .At O'Hare Airport that night, Mike and Steve reached for their plane tickets . . . .Slight problem! They had vanished. So Our Boys bought new one-way tix at $250 apiece . . . .Once they hit National, they went to claim their bags . . . .Don't even bother to ask . . . .All were lost (and still are), with the car keys inside . . . .

And thanks to Jeannette Cohen of Chevy Chase for this goodie . . . .Jeannette wanted to send a gift box of cashews to a friend, so she looked up the appropriate heading in the Maryland Yellow Pages . . . .There it is, in all its glory: NUTS/EDIBLE . . . .The inedible kind must be getting obscene calls . . . .They're unlisted . . . .