It began with the Boxcar Children, then I graduated to Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys. Anything with “mystery” in the title. I checked out book after book about forensics, fingerprinting, and hidden cameras. Now I like Sherlock Holmes and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
I envied the heroes’ skill at noticing details and nuances, and the way they waltzed with danger on a daily basis. The idea of toting around cameras and recorders and pens that shoot bullets intrigued me.
Perhaps the reason I like spy stories is because there is always more than meets the eye. Everything means something else. You never have to take things at face value. Nothing gets past a spy, because his/her eyes are always open, searching for the real meaning and clues to the ultimate solution.
Spies don’t put everything out in the open. They’re mysterious, not just to look cool but because they use the ultimate discretion in what they disclose. The mystique is there because they don’t reveal everything right away. You won’t catch a good spy regretting something she just said. She doesn’t brag about how many cases she’s solved or how many weapons she’s carrying.
A true secret agent doesn’t forget his mission. He finishes what he starts, and he’s willing to complete whatever task he’s given, or die trying. Challenges of every kind might arise, but he gets the job done. He does it whether he’s going to be thanked for it or not.
Maybe we should all have a little more “spy” in us.