Attention – Mr. Smith……

This one’s aimed at all the “Mr. Smith’s” out there….. I saw this on “Hogan’s Heroes” once when Col. Klink was swamped with paperwork….Hogan told him that when he worked in the Penagon and became bogged down in paperwork, he would just attach a note stating, “To the attention of Col. John Smith” and he was never overworked again…. Klink’s reply was,” What, send all his German paperwork to the attention of Col. John Smith at the Pentagon?”…. Hogan laughed and replied,” No, no – send it to Col. Johann Schmitt”…. Klink replied that would be stupid, but he did it anyway as soon as Hogan left the room and in the next scene Klink was humming and polishing his empty desk…. I found the orgins of this entitled:

“The Business of Stupidity and Vice Versa” (True story)

Before Charles Lamb became a successful writer, he worked as a clerk for the India Company in England…. Detesting the job, Lamb devised a clever way to arrive late each day, leave early, and still process more files than other hard-working clerks…. He took every fourth file, unopened, and attached a note, referring the matter to “Mr. Smith.” Lamb didn’t know who Mr. Smith was…. He simply assumed that in a company that large, there would be several Smiths….. The strategy worked so well that none of the Smith files were ever returned…..

The Smiths sure have a heavy burden to endure. 😉

One Response to “Attention – Mr. Smith……”

  1. Actually there are more Smiths than one might think. According to the 1990 US census, just over 1% of the population sample has a last name of Smith. See for details. Scroll down to “First ten entries in dist.all.last”. I bet England has even a higher percentage of Smiths. So it’s not hard to imagine Charles Lamb’s plan working, especially in a large company.

    There is at least one TV example Smith to help out with Hogan’s workload: Doctor Who. The third doctor, portrayed by Jon Pertwee, often went by Doctor John Smith. Of course, he might have been too busy solving world threating problems to deal with mundane paperwork.

    There must be lots of TV shows that use characters named Smith.

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