See Traffic – absorbing and thought-provoking.

Drink root beer – underrated beverage.

Worried about identity theft? To learn more about the American Express Credit Aware Service, call 800-964-3594. For $79.95, you’ll get the same copies of your credit bureau reports you could get for free. But it will be simpler, and the main thing is that the service promises to alert you if people begin applying for credit in your name. I know there are some people who, after the recent market debacle, might actually want their identities stolen. But for the rest of us, this is such an unsettling prospect that, even if $79.95 is not a great deal . . . well, I decided to give it a try.

Need exercise? Buy a SONY Walkman – I remember them as$159, because I’m old, but I got one at Walgreen’s last week that has AM, FM,TV (so you can listen to Sixty Minutes) and a tape player all for $29.95. Is this a great country or what? Then buy the boxed set of Tales of the City, if you’ve never read it and are comfortable with an R-Rated San Francisco-type story, and walk, jog, or pedal listening to these tapes (or to Sixty Minutes). Time will fly, you’ll lose five pounds, you’ll have the heart of a 19-year-old. Alternatively, on the off chance you never read Bonfire of the Vanities, buy that instead and let John Lithgow read it to you. (These are abridged versions, and they’re not cheap. But compared to the cost of a heart attack? Plus, if you listen to them carefully, you can wrap them back up and give them as gifts, or sell them on eBay.)

Need buttons? Say a birthday is coming up, and you want all 12 people at the party to be wearing a ‘Sally’s the Greatest!’ button when she arrives for dinner. Maybe even put Sally’s photo on it. This little outfit – – promises fast service and will make up as few as 10 buttons for about $12. So don’t ask me for Re-Elect Al Gore buttons – print ’em up yourself.

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