Daily Archives: February 13, 2009

Secrets of janitors

One of my favorite cartoons as a kid was Hong Kong Phooey. Phooey was, as the title song suggests, “the number one super guy.” Phooey was secretly Penrod Pooch, a janitor at the local police headquarters. He was madly in love with Rosemary, the receptionist/secretary there. Phooey was always aided by the police cat (who also wore a mask), Spot. The running joke was that Spot was the one to always solve the crime, yet Phooey got credit for it and was loved and adored by the public.

But watching Penrod made me do a lot of thinking; janitors/custodians/domestic engineers or whatever you want to call them have access to a great deal of information not available to most people.

Think about it. After you’ve finished your conversation with the high ranking official at your job, you take all the notes you scribbled on the scratch pad and key them into your computer files…then you toss the notes in the trash.

In this day and age of digital information and identity theft, we’re a little more careful about what we throw away, but we still toss stuff into the trash we shouldn’t: credit card receipts, credit card bills, Wal-mart receipts, utility bills, etc. At home, the “janitor” is most often us. Of course, in most of the Mann homes, we burn our sensitive materials like that. Yeah, I could get a shredder and use it to cut up my bills and such, but I’m not going to. I’ve got to do my part to help this man-made global warming, after all. In fact, I think I’m probably responsible for the recent wave of ice to miss Oxford. How? That night, when the wind was not blowing, (it’s never a good idea to start a fire outside when the wind is blowing) I filled my “burn can” and put a match to it. The ice hit that night all around us—but skipped Oxford. The residents don’t realize that I’m responsible for it…and, of course, for helping Al Gore’s global warming. In fact, as I write this, I’m doing my part again as the can is flaming up!

But I digress.

Imagine a janitor at a large corporation. Sure the execs dispose of a lot of their material via a shredder, but so much gets by them. Janitors would have access to grocery lists, agendas, memos, client lists and even love letters! Not only that, think about this: most janitors have keys to all the rooms in the building, often they have greater access to free run in the building than most of the regular employees. In fact, their access to information is so high that the government should consider hiring them as some sort of branch of a spy agency.

It worked for Hong Kong Phooey!

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