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Life in the dull lane

By JESSICA TREADWAY

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Former President Gerald Ford and the comic cat Garfield may not appear to have much in common, but both made the International Dull Men's Club list of 'the ten dullest Americans.'

J.D. Stewart, Chairman of the Bored of the 'club for people who don't like to belong to clubs,' released the list Thursday, despite its interference with one of his favorite dull pastimes -- snorting lime Jello.

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With J.L. Troise, IDMC's Los Angeles-based president, Stewart came up with the following ranking of 1982's most unmemorable celebrities:

-Don Rickles: 'How many times can you call someone a hockey puck?'

-Gerald Ford: 'Mr. Ford has advanced the dullness movement by a quantam jump.'

-Lawrence Welk: '40 years of non-bubbly, flat champagne music seems destined to go onand on spreading lackluster.'

-Phyllis Schlafly: 'Hang in there, Phyllis, the homebodies will rise again.'

-Walter Mondale: 'Played second fiddle to president barely beaten out for 10th place in the list (Jimmy Carter); vice-presidency alone entitles him to 'dullest' honors.'

-Harry Gray: 'The chief executive officer of United Technologies manages to cram more cliches into a line of English than had ever been imagined possible; he does those 'let's pick ourselves up and roll up our sleeves ads in the Wall Street Journal.'

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-Fred Rogers: 'Even kids sometimes find him boring, but we wouldn't trade him for anyone, not even Kermit.'

-John Glenn: IDMC's choice for 'dull person most likely to come close to succeeding.'

-Garfield: 'Even mice and birds ignore the laid-back cat, whose claim to fame is stale lasagna jokes.'

-The National Football League players' union: 'Special award for making traditionally dull Monday nights even duller during their strike.'

The announcement of the list coincides with Stewart's compilation of The Nobody Register: Who's Nobody, Who Cares? for the 229,000,000 people in the United States NOT eligible for Who's Who, Stewart said.

The IDMC has enjoyed great success since Americans have become aware of what it stands for, Stewart said, with 500-1000 card-carrying members and hundreds more who may be too dull to officially join but consider themselves part of the movement anyway.

'We welcome people who don't like to follow the latest fads, fashions and trendiness, who don't jump on every bandwagon that comes along,' said Stewart, who is a senior statistical analyst at Eastman Kodak Co. when he is not promoting the otherwise unpromotable.

Stewart also gave a preview of seminars to be given at the first international convention for dull people in Rochester next year.

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The programs include 'You Can't, Even if You Want To'; 'Dressing to Break Even'; 'A History of the Fork'; and -- perhaps predictably - 'N.A.S.T -- Nonassertiveness Sensitivity Training.'

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