September 18, 2008
Aren’t social networking sites fun? I’ve had people I work with press me into setting up accounts on them, because they’ve said, "Hey, this is a great resource I can use to send you electronic messages you can read at your leisure." Yeah. A way to send electronic messages that would be stored in a database where I can retrieve them when I have time is an amazing thing. Why didn’t anyone think of this as a potential use of the internet before now? I know they can do other things. They can be a place for me to store pictures, and they put my name out there on a vast network where a guy who sat next to me in chemistry class in high school can look me up and contact me. How am I supposed to respond, though? Asking, "So…do you still listen to The Cure?" seems a little goofy, and yet not quite as impersonal as, "So…what have you been doing for the past twenty years?" And the sites allow me to list my friends because, let me tell you, it’s so hard to keep track of who my friends are in real life.
Recently, though, I heard about a social networking site for spies. You may be wondering how I heard about this. Well, have you ever wondered why I’m always dressed in a trench coat and fedora, even when I’m swimming? Have you ever wondered why I occasionally walk up next to complete strangers at the bus stop and say, "The pearl is in the river"? Remember that time when we were in a bar fight and I paralyzed a three-hundred pound guy with a plastic water bottle? Did you ever wonder where I learned that skill? If you’ve never wondered it’s because none of those things are true.
But I digress. I learned about the social networking site for spies on the radio, and I have to admit I felt kind of envious. Yes, we regular people have our own social networking sites, but you know spies have to have one that’s even cooler than ours. Just look at James Bond. Actually don’t look at James Bond until you’ve stopped reading this, but think about all the cool stuff he had. When I was a kid and I’d watch Bond films I’d think being a spy must be the greatest job in the world. You get to travel to exotic lands, meet interesting people, carry the coolest gadgets, and defeat bad guys with amazingly elaborate underwater lairs. Then I went through puberty and the opening credits became the most interesting part of any Bond film for me. But that’s another story. It always amazed me how Q, the gadget guy, would give Bond these amazingly weird devices and somehow he’d always find a use for them. Q could hold something out and say, "Here, James, try this umbrella, it turns into a deck of playing cards." And if Bond was being played by Sean Connery he’d say, "Och aye, what use can ye see for sech a thing, ye wee bugger?" But if he was being played by anyone else he’d cock one eyebrow and say, "Not playing with a full deck, eh Q?" And Q would say, "Very funny, Bond. How old are you now, eighty-three?" But I digress. Imagine, though, the social networking site that James Bond must belong to. Among other things he can contact one of his friends and say, "Och aye", or maybe just, "yo", and then describe the problem he’s having with his grenade-launcher watch. "The grenades keep turning around and coming back to my magnetic cufflinks, and I have to make a daring escape down a ski slope with a sexy woman’s legs wrapped around my head," he might say. And his friend-obviously another spy-would come back with, "Yeah, you have to use your sunglasses that expand into a scuba device to deactivate the cufflinks." And they could all share tips on the best way to get a super villain to get so distracted describing his elaborate plan to seize the entire world’s boron reserves that he can easily be pushed into his tank full of man-eating pangolins. The most obvious advantage, though, is that spies can go there to send messages to their contacts, saying, "The pearl is in the river", without having to go to the bus stop.