After I traded in my Superman towel cape and my father’s ragbag shirt with the red “S” my mother painted on the front, I was at a loss to find a hero that inspired me. For years I struggled to find the personality that I could emulate and model. And after years of wandering in the wilderness, the new hero arrived…007. Cue the guitar licks for the James Bond theme music. Not only could I save the world, but I had theme music I could hum as I vanquished all of the villains SPECTRE could throw at me.
Now in the early days of my Secondary education, I was not a model student that “wowed” my teachers with scholastic enterprise. Days before I had to show my parents the report card marking my progress or lack thereof, I was consumed with anxiety. Once, in a moment of panic, I tried to transform a “D” into an “A” and an “F” into a “B”. Not a very “Bond” move. My penciled-in upgrade did not fool anyone; my dyslexia could not be hidden.
So when “Goldfinger” was released, and my mother and I were watching a trailer on television, I asked her what it would take to become a double 00 like James Bond. Mother did not even have to think of her answer. The words flew out of her mouth, “Well Honey, you gotta start by making better grades in school.” This from the woman who had enabled me to become Superman, now speaking truth. I was brought low.
I will always be grateful to my mother for her grounded realism, and not inflating my imagination with “you can be anything you want to be when you grow up.” Some things were clearly out of reach. So the quest to find a more accessible hero continued.
However, my sweet wife Kay has reminded me on occasion that I still harbor a secret desire to to be “Bond…James Bond.” Some fantasies are worth holding on to.