When our James Bond special commemorative issue celebrating 50 years of 007 in film arrived in the office, I experienced an awakening; a Proustian moment, if you will. “Holy geeze,” I thought to myself, slowly flipping through the 100 pages of photos, stories and incredible graphics. “James Bond has defined me as the human being I am today in more ways than I care to admit. Nevertheless, here they are:
Born: Legend has it I weighed close to 12 lb. Auspiciously drop 1.5 lb. in first day, as though I knew preparation for a life of disguises must start now.
Age 4: Brother and I build bombs from Lego and odd wires we find around the house. Learn how to diffuse said bombs in under 10 seconds, saving both ourselves and our family.
Age 5 to 6: Watch first 007 film, Moonraker. Take up smoking crayons and drinking Kool-Aid martinis. Try to charm classmates in the kindergarten play kitchen with rehearsed slick moves. Dress up as the villain Jaws for Halloween by fashioning steel teeth from bubble gum. Nobody gets it, but me.
Age 7: Watch For Your Eyes Only. Obsessed with the opening sequence of silhouetted female bodies set to Sheena Easton’s theme song, which will be the first cassette single I buy with my own money. Also, outdoor survival training begins: fashion shelters with bunk beds made of corn stalks in the cornfield behind my childhood home. Get into trouble for destroying 10-sq. metre patch of crop. They’ll be sorry, I think, when I don’t have the necessary skills to survive in extreme circumstances.
Age 8: Every Sunday night we go to Swiss Chalet followed by a movie in a real theatre. After our order of four quarter-chicken dinners (with French fries) is placed, I habitually excuse myself and make my way to the washroom downstairs. The entire time, I practice being a spy. As I lurk around corners, my gun, which is my right hand, is hidden behind my dress. Get back to the table always to find my kitty cocktail–shaken, not stirred–waiting for me, and inevitably get asked, “What took you so long?” What am I supposed to say? I WAS ONLY TRAINING TO SAVE THE WORLD.
Age 9: A big year. Watch Octopussy. I do not know the title is a play on words. Become obsessed with Faberge eggs. My fear of clowns, first born after watching Poltergeist, is cemented after seeing Roger Moore dressed up like one. Watch Never Say Never Again. Don’t realize this film is not considered part of the 007 lexicon because it was released by Warner Brothers rather than United Artists, but wouldn’t care if I did, because it is my favourite Bond film to date. Just look at the cast: Sean Connery, Kim Basinger, Klaus Maria Brandauer and Max Von Sydow, who you might remember from his turn in the Canadian film, Strange Brew, and some movie with subtitles called The Seventh Seal.
Age 11: Watch A View To a Kill. Grace Jones and Christopher Walken are in this one, each exotic and overwhelming to an 11-year-old. Also, a band called “Duran Duran” performs the theme song. Love of said song leads me to a song and video called Wild Boys, which speaks to me on a visceral level: I too am wild. A wild spy in training.
Age 12 to 13: Watch Stand By Me, where they use the word “octopussy,” but without the “octo” part, over and over again. Think it just means scaredy-cat. Repeat it around the house, at school and in the neighbourhood. Dad must sit me down and explain that the word is slang for “vagina.” Throw up. Then proceed to videotape several Bond films playing on the Superchannel. Watch on repeat, studying, finessing, always learning.
Age 14: Realize the dude who played Kim Basinger’s brother in Never Say Never Again, actor Gavan O’Herlihy, also stars in an important film that MAYBE YOU’VE HEARD OF CALLED WILLOW. God, Actors are extraordinary, I think.
Teenage years: Take hiatus once Timothy Dalton takes over as Bond, although Dad makes me watch earlier Bond films with Sean Connery. Dr. No, Goldfinger, From Russia With Love, and Thunderball. Realize that Never Say Never Again is actually a remake of the latter film. Continue with spy physical training by playing highschool sports and with transforming my appearance by using every new product that Clearasil releases.
Age early 20s: Decide to study art history at university after nearly failing first-year chemistry and calculus. Spies don’t really need that stuff anyway. They’ve always got a Q to help them. Also, reason that knowledge of art history will get me unlimited access into the world’s most important museums.
Age mid-20s: Learn that studying art history will not get me unlimited access into the world’s most important museums. You just have to pay for a ticket. Still, go on to graduate school to study art history and learn German and Italian. Other languages, I think. Finally, we’re getting somewhere. Plus, if I do meet crazy art-collecting billionaires trying to take over the world, I can infiltrate their worlds and gain their trust when I slip this into conversation: “Oh, you want to steal the Mona Lisa? The one painted by the High Renaissance master and inventor Leonardo between 1503 to 1506? Don’t you just love the use of sformato in that one?” (Use exaggerated Italian accent when saying, sformato.)
Age 28: Distracted with Jason Bourne franchise. Realize I have much to learn in terms of hand-to-hand combat, language skills and diffusing bombs. Wonder if there’s something to his strong, silent-type approach. Decide that there isn’t. Bourne needs to learn to relax a little, have a drink.
Age 29: Can not find art history/spy-related work. Look into applying at CSIS*. Contemplate going back to school to get Masters in Library Science, since I read somewhere that CSIS needs librarians.
Age 32: Watch Casino Royale–Daniel Craig’s first film as Bond. Something new awakens in me. For the first time, I don’t want to be Bond. I want to touch Bond.
Age 34: Watch Quantum of Solace. See above. Get job at Maclean’s. Sit beside actual investigative reporters. I listen, watch, and learn. Always learning.
Age 35: Write my first big exposé on pie crust for Maclean’s. What fat is best? Lard? Shortening? Butter? Finally, WE ARE GETTING SOMEWHERE!
Age 37: Watch Daniel Craig playing 007 with the Queen during opening ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Was this a covert message intended just for me? Wait patiently for Skyfall--the next Bond movie–to open in theaters on November 9, about a week before my birthday. Coincidence? There are no coincidences.
*CSIS agents can contact me via my personal email, which I assume you already have.