Twenty-three nineteen

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The anthropology of the office™

A full-scale CDA call-out, yesterday.

The JC puts on his pith-helmet, grabs his butterfly net and a rucksack full of marmalade sandwiches, and heads into the concrete jungle

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First featured in that fabulous motion picture Monsters, Inc., “2319” is the call-sign for the Child Detection Agency, a mythical swat team which gets called in when the chips are really down. Older campers — and, actually, younger folk, for Monsters, Inc. was a staple only for parents of toddlers in a narrow window around 2001 — may know this as a “fire drill”.

They are the only people you need, or who can help, if there is a “twenty-three nineteen” alert — if, for example, a salesperson receives a communication longer than a paragraph, that he intuits someone — being, unless he does something quickly, him — will have to read.[1]

Likewise, the CDA is the one group in the firm who can help with a question whose answer appears to require a modicum of legal analysis to answer, however central that modicum may be to the day job of the person asking it.

For most of the bank, that’s you, legal eagles.

While until now, per the above, twenty-three nineteen was only really used when a salesperson returned from a client meeting with a letter or brochure that seemed in need of reading, in early 2020 it began being used more directly by front of house security people whenever those of an Italian disposition — construed liberally so as to include Deliveroo cyclists with Pizzas and anyone travelling by Fiat — arrived unexpectedly in reception.[2] At the first sounding of the alarm, business continuity SWAT teams would descend on the hapless fellow, shave him, hose him down with disinfectant, manhandle him out the door with a paper bag on his head and spray the area he transgressed with cod liver oil and sawdust.

See also


  1. Deep spoddy point: The original “2319” contamination was a white sock - “W” being the 23rd and “S” the 19th letters of the alphabet. That may come in handy on a quiz night some day, amirite?
  2. This has not aged well. In March 2020, Italians were beset with coronavirus.