You always get a glimpse of the characters in their early days, how they were selected and recruited. It always seems like the CIA or a similar institution goes up to them. (In Canada, I suppose it'd be CSIS.) No one ever seems to seek them out. In a way that is never presented as being creepy, they'll find you. They're the surveillance gods.
I guess that's great for some people, but what about for the rest of us? What about the ones who have weird, embarrassing moments, and would die of shame if they thought they were being spied on by spooks in nondescript vans packed with high-tech whiz-bangery?
Case in point: The day I realized I would never be chosen as a secret agent.
I was at my girlfriend's house one morning, and one of her roommates was making waffles in the kitchen. I offered to help with breakfast by making some eggs. (I spent 1½ years working as a short-order cook in a Zellers diner; the breakfast shifts were my thing.) I have a habit of whistling when I'm doing relatively easy work, and frying eggs certainly qualifies.
Anyway, there we were, her making waffles on one end of the kitchen, and me flipping eggs on the other side. I had gone through a couple of lines of a pretty famous song when I realized what I'd inadvertently whistled. I shut right up and wondered if I'd get caught.
One Mississippi. Maybe she hadn't heard. Two Mississippi. How recognizable could it have been? Three Mississippi. Maybe I'd get away with it.
"Um..." she said.
Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.
"Were you just whistling 'Total Eclipse of the Heart?'"
"Nope." Good one. Even tone. Unhurried delivery. Not a hint of guilt. One Mississippi.
"Yeah... I think you were." Cue the laughter. Her laughter. So much for being able to BS my way out of a less-than-complex situation.
Later that day I was driving with my girlfriend to a local Costco, following a friend's car through an unfamiliar route. My other passengers included the waffle-making roommate and her boyfriend (who is also a roommate at my girlfriend's place). We were listening to
I explained that I don't actually like the song (it's true, at least for the original), and that's when I noticed the car I'd been following had turned onto another street at an intersection. The only problem was I was on the original road and already through said intersection.
Distracted again! Can you imagine if I was a secret agent and I fell into enemy hands? Apparently they'd only have to play a specific Bonnie Tyler song, and my mind would just be out of the game.
Anyway, that's how I came to the conclusion that I wouldn't cut it as a secret agent. It isn't because I only speak two languages. It isn't because I can't hack a city's mainframe. It isn't the lack of martial arts training after the age of ten (two belts away from a black belt in karate back then, and I can't even touch my toes now).
No. It's because of Lea Michele and a song that gets butchered nightly at karaoke bars around the world.
So long, secret agents. Bye-bye, espionage.
Turn around bright eyes.