Barry Saunders

Hey state workers, clean out your desks and don’t order porn by mail – Saunders

Bullets and documents were among items found in discarded state furniture that sparked a warning from the director of the North Carolina State Surplus Property. Officials worry that the material might find its way into the hands of public buyers.
Bullets and documents were among items found in discarded state furniture that sparked a warning from the director of the North Carolina State Surplus Property. Officials worry that the material might find its way into the hands of public buyers. North Carolina State Surplus Property

If you’ve ever been fired or asked to leave a job at a moment’s notice, it’s understandable that you would inadvertently leave something embarrassing behind in your desk when you depart.

Who among us hasn’t had to clear out of his office – or, ahem, out of town – a step ahead of the posse and forgotten that tattered Sears catalog with the strategically creased pages?

In such situations, you can see how state employees would leave behind – as an N&O story reported recently – personal, embarrassing, compromising stuff in their desks.

What’s weird, though, is that people would leave such stuff behind even when they weren’t fired or fleeing the sheriff.

State surplus property officials have found in discarded desks such items as bullets, credit card information and love letters from co-workers, among other things.

Don’t these people realize they’re putting state or even national security at risk? What if, for instance, the Russkies were to buy some of those desks and stumble upon compromising letters or order forms and use them to blackmail DMV employees?

Comrade, you will slow down zee registration/renewal line on Tuesday morning or we will post on line zese illicit letters you sent to zee sexy receptionist.

There was nothing salacious or blackmailable in the surplus desk I purchased from the state, nor in the one I purchased from Duke University’s surplus store. OK, the latter one wasn’t meant to be a desk, but it’s amazing what else a gynecologist’s examining table can be used for.

In what colors do surplus state desks come? Fifty shades of gray, apparently.

Every employee, whether your boss has been giving you the fisheye lately or not, should have a desk buddy, someone who – when security comes to unceremoniously separate you from employment – will clean those illicit love letters out of your desk.

That’s why every employee should have a desk buddy, someone who – when security comes to unceremoniously separate you from employment – will clean out of your desk or locker.

A true friend, it’s been said, is someone to whom you will give the key to the bottom-left drawer of your desk at work or at home – you know, the one where you keep your cherished G.I. Joe action figures (wink, wink) with instructions to make sure Sweet Thang isn’t in the room when you open it.

If you don’t have such a friend, find one.

The real heavens-to-Betsying prompted by last week’s story was over the discovery that state employees were ordering pornography while at work. The order forms were found right there in their desks. Egads!!!

Porn is – as Kassia Wosick, a New Mexico State University assistant professor, has said in numerous published reports – a $97 billion international industry. A Stanford University report said it is “the most queried subject on search engines.”

Therefore, should we really be ashamed or aghast that some state workers are – in between serving the needs of citizens – trying to serve their own after-hour needs, as well?

Should we really be ashamed or aghast at the porn order forms found in the desks of former state workers? Darned right. We should be ashamed that they are still using the mail to order porn.

Darned right. We should be ashamed that they are still using the mail to order porn. Haven’t these randy rubes in state government heard of the internet? Why, by the time you order via snail mail, six to eight weeks could have passed, some nosy mail inspector could have peeked inside or you could have even forgotten that you ordered it.

Ever seen your neighbor standing by the mailbox with a puzzled look on his face? He’s wondering, “What’s in this plain brown paper wrapper?”

At least, that’s what I’ve heard.

Seventeen years ago, I told you how the state was spending $2 million a year – back when $2 million was real money – on Viagra subscriptions for state employees, and how, when I called the Pfizer Pharmaceuticals spokeswoman, she said, “We’ve never seen anyone who needed 400 pills a year.”

“That,” I wrote, “probably came as a surprise to the state worker who bought 473 last year.”

As the least judgmental person you’ll ever meet– unless someone says they don’t like Al Green, then I judge that their ear is in their foot – I will not cast aspersions on state workers whose desks possibly provide a peek into their perversions. Indeed, we should be heartened to know that state government isn’t peopled solely by pencil-pushing bureaucrats who enjoy making you wait two hours to renew your license, but by co-worker-flirting, lusty lotharios, too.

If anthropologists had rummaged through the discarded desks before they were cleared out, future generations would reach one conclusion. Man, those North Carolina state employees knew how to party – or hadn’t yet discovered the internet.

At least now, we know why we’re having to wait.

Barry Saunders: 919-836-2811, @BarrySaunders9

  Comments