Once upon a time I used to read the Guardian. It must have been in the early 2000s and a Guardian journalist hired a Private Detective to find out as much information as possible about someone when all he had to go on was a pay as you go mobile phone number. For all those conspiracy theorists out there he was very clear (in the article) that even though he hired the PD anonymously the PAYG number belonged to a phone he had purchased himself. I’m not sure but I suspect that no actual laws were broken as a consequence and certainly no moral code was breached. The article was quite interesting the amount of information that the PD was able to uncover was astonishing, he got everything.
Unsurprisingly he didn’t go into vast detail about all the tricks that he used but there was one that he shared which has always stuck with me. ‘I like to ring up the golf club pretending to be the wife of the person I’m investigating and ask them to confirm which account their husband paid his subs on this month as I’m going through the accounts and I can’t find the payment anywhere.’ the journalist was astonished, ‘but you’re a man, does no one ever challenge you?’. ‘Sometimes there is an awkward pause but they always hand over the information, it’s funny I’ve never been challenged about it when I used to get my secretary to do it she would to get challenged all the time.’
There was some discussion on this point and the PD believed that people were too embarrassed to say, “I’m sorry but you sound like a man” to someone who was claiming to be a woman. I bring this up because I was at my favourite West Midlands casino recently when, my better half remaining in the poker tournament that I had crashed out of I noticed that it was time for me to partake of my next 35 minute nap. I’d just drifted off to sleep when a bouncer informed me, rather loudly that “you can’t sleep in here mate”.
I was rather taken aback. Startled, and in my recently dozy state, I spluttered. “I’m sorry but I need to take a 35 minute nap every four hours for medical reasons.” With out so much a second thought he said, “O, I am sorry sir please carry on.” This was repeated ten minutes later and it worked the second time as well. Now I suspect that I could easily convince a doctor to write me a note about my poly-phasic sleeping, after all my blood pressure is down from high to normal, I’ve lost half a stone and my concentration is through the roof, but it did make me wonder. What else could you get away with by muttering those three magic words: “for medical reasons”.