THINK YOU’D MAKE A GOOD SPY? TAKE THIS QUIZ TO FIND OUT. (SPY-Q Part 2)
What kind of spy would you be?
Are you ruthless? Trustworthy? Cool-headed? Take the quiz to find out if you’ve got what it takes, then read about a few of my favorite spies.
So by now everyone who’s ever spoken to me knows: I want to be a spy. I have spy-envy.
Case in point: Over a decade ago, I proposed a secret-agent-themed birthday party to my oldest child.
ME: It’ll be so much fun! We could play spies!
THING 1: (claps hands) Yeah! OR *eight-year-old-squeal* WHAT ABOUT A MERMAID PARTY?!
ME: (nods, pretending to consider) Sure, sure. We could do mermaids. Or, what about this: we could do spies!
THING 2: Will there be cake?
ME: Secret agent cake!
THING 1: I think I like mermaids better.
ME: (still nodding) Yeah, mermaids are awesome, no doubt about it. But you know what’s even more awesome? It starts with ‘S’ and ends with… No? No guesses?
Being an indulgent mother, I allowed my daughter to dash any hopes of vicariously reliving my childhood. She got to choose her own theme (mermaids).
And to this day, I’m still trying to play spies.
Is it any wonder, then, that some of my favorite spies embody characteristics that I also have?
(Yes, I know. I have a remarkably rich fantasy life. Let the comparisons begin.)
SPY: Julia Child
|Julia Child in Ceylon
WHY SHE’S A FAVORITE: During World War II, Julia Child—too tall to join the military—served in the OSS (the predecessor to the CIA). While stationed abroad, her culinary palate developed. She attended Le Cordon Bleu (like me), then became a writer (also like me). In the 1970s, Julia made French cooking accessible to the American audience through her show, The French Chef, on PBS (My parents didn’t believe in cable; I grew up on PBS. Yeah, I’m that girl.).
SHE SAYS: “In my generation, except for a few people who’d gone into banking or nursing or something like that, middle-class women didn’t have careers. You were to marry and have children and be a nice mother. You didn’t go out and do anything. I found that I got restless.”
SHE ALSO SAYS: “A party without cake is just a meeting.”
|Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing
SPY: Alan Turing
WHY HE’S A FAVORITE: Besides the obvious of cracking The Enigma Code to help win the war, Turing was an introvert (guilty as charged), a bad student (yours truly), and a “scruffy” dresser (I live in yoga pants and tee-shirts. Seriously.). When Turing was arrested for indecency (because in the 50s, being gay was a crime), rather than deny the charges, he logically and unapologetically stated that homosexuality shouldn’t be against the law. Quite the forward thinker.
HE SAYS: “Mathematical reasoning may be regarded rather schematically as the exercise of a combination of two facilities, which we may call intuition and ingenuity.”
SPIES: Antonio and Jonna Mendez
|Jonna Mendez’s Invisible Ink
|WHY THEY’RE FAVORITES: While Antonio is best known as the agent behind the hit movie Argo, I fell for him while reading his fascinating account of life during the Cold War, The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA. His wife Jonna, formerly “chief of disguise” of the CIA, put her spy skills to work as a civilian. A few years ago, Jonna was tapped by Target to serve as the holiday Kids’ Gift Detective. She wrote a series of articles for parents, including hiding holiday gifts using crypsis (camouflage), writing a letter to Santa with home-made invisible ink, and using covert-ops to discover what the kiddies really want this year. I’m a sucker for a stealth mom.
ANTONIO SAYS: “The trick is that you have to believe the lie and believe it so much that the lie becomes the truth.”
JONNA SAYS: “You’ve got to think about how to outsmart them. It’s part of the fun.” –The Washington Post
Still, if I could live the life of any spy, I’d stick with the fictional characters. Jason Bourne. Sydney Bristow. Ziva David. How about you–if you could be any spy, real or imagined, who would you choose?