As the ELEVATOR WORLD editor who is responsible for online news, among many other responsibilities, I spend a large portion of my workday searching the Internet. There are numerous sites I visit daily, including CNN and other generic news outlets, plus industry-related sites (I also check Tom Sybert’s Elevator Radio Show on Wednesdays). In addition, I use a daily online news service to track the latest reports relating to the industry.
This news search engine seeks items containing certain industry-related terms, such as “elevator” and “escalator.” What makes my job entertaining is that while those words are obviously very important to EW and the industry, they are also used in many non-industry-related ways. For example, I get a lot of hits for news stories about grain “elevators” and “escalator” clauses as part of contract negotiations. Not to mention the use of elevators and escalators as reference points in news stories (“Britney Spears was seen getting on an elevator at the Waldorf Hotel” or “The assault took place near the down escalator on the second level of the Riverside Mall”).
Then, there are the numerous references to “elevator pitches,” which get their name from first appearing in elevators. For the uninformed, an “elevator pitch” is a brief and to-the-point sales pitch to potential customer that could be successfully completed within the length of an elevator ride in an office building.
And let’s not forget “elevator music,” which you hardly hear anymore, but is still used as a term to describe bland music. While on the subject of music, you might be interested to know there are several bands with the word “elevator” in their names (The 13th Floor Elevators, for example). I receive all of their concert dates and album release announcements.
Occasionally, I run across a news item that lists “The 20 Most Annoying Things You Can Do in an Elevator.” Often times the list is longer than 20 items, and it never fails to bring at least a smile to my face, if not a hearty guffaw! Some examples: Greet everyone getting on the elevator with a warm handshake and ask them to call you Admiral, meow occasionally, smack your forehead repeatedly and say, “Shut up! All of you shut up!” and put a sock on your hand and talk to the other passengers with it. One of my favorites is: When the doors close, announce to the others, “It’s okay. Don’t panic, they open up again.”
Another enjoyable part of my job comes from reading some of the headlines generated by my news search. As a former newspaper editor and reporter, I know most headlines are written by copy editors working the “graveyard shift,” who can get a little punchy from the late hours and deadline pressures. Therefore, I have to smile when I see some of the headlines associated with (usually vaguely) industry-related news stories.
As an example, two recent headlines brought a smile to my face:
A news brief in The Worthington (Minnesota) Daily Globe was titled: “Windom Man Admits to Bean Theft.” Obviously a slow news day in Windom, until you read the story and discovered the man in question stole not just one bean but two truckloads of legumes from a nearby grain elevator.
The second example tops that one in the unusual crime department. Part of the reason I liked it was that I love a good pun. It comes from television station WWJ in Detroit, Michigan: “‘Urine’ Trouble for Elevator Prank.” Upon reading the story, which ran on numerous other news websites, you would have learned that a contractor was arrested after a surveillance camera caught him doing something in an elevator that you normally would do in the restroom. What makes the story even more amusing, at least to me, was that the man was doing work for the Internal Revenue Service when he was caught (insert your own joke here).
Try this for yourself, use your favorite search engine, type “elevator” or “escalator” into the news search space and see if you find something that will top these news headlines. Let us know what you find. And if your boss sees you laughing at work, just explain that you were searching for news items related to the industry.