Official Spy’s Handbook

You want a tell about my life, well here you go… I’m, on occasion, paranoid.

I’ve admitted to very few limited people, and may have mentioned on these very pages, that I have a few weird proclivities, particularly when it comes to entering strange or enclosed places.

  1. I check for exits. I need to know if I want/need to get out of the location fast where the best exit is likely to be.
  2. I build scenarios in my head… what might happen while I’m here and how would I counter it if the happening is negative.
  3. Who looks like they may be a combatant and how would I handle them.
  4. What can I use as weapon. As an example in a movie theatre this could be everything from “how hard would it be to remove the arm from a chair”, to “how quickly can I fold a popcorn box into a hardened stick”.

Yes, I’m weird like that. A therapist might say it has to do with never feeling safe, of having social anxiety or something in that vein. But it goes beyond that because if I’m with others they are definitely included in the plans in my head… and it’s never, what can they do to help, it’s what do I have to do to protect them. So maybe I have a bit of a hero complex thrown in for good measure.

Well, I often wondered where it comes from, and the armchair therapists out there may have a point, but I prefer to believe it has to do with my obsession with a book when I was a kid.

The Usborne Official Spy's Handbook
The Usborne Official Spy’s Handbook

I first found out about an Official Spy’s Handbook when I was in primary school, I’m not certain it is the Usborne version but I imagine it was, how many could there be? Anyway, this book I obsessed over, it talked about how to see if someone was following you, doubling back, altering your routes to not have. a routine, checking in mirrors and windows for tails, how to lose a tail, how to mark a drop site, etc I had that book down. If it still existed in the Shalvey Primary School Library with the original borrowing card I’m pretty sure my name would be all over it, I had that book out all the time.

Carrying Secret Messages from The Official Usborne Spy's Handbook
Carrying Secret Messages from The Official Usborne Spy’s Handbook

Recently it came up, I’m not sure how or why, but I saw something that reminded me of it, so I went looking and have found a new imprint of it, and well, I’ve bought a copy, I’m waiting for it to arrive. Nostalgia is a crazy thing.

I look forward to reading it again, it’s a kid’s book so I’m not sure if it will stand the test of time. Maybe when I’m finished with it I’ll send it onto my nieces in New Zealand so they too can learn the art of the spy.

Feature image is from iStockphoto.com

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