Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Road Not Taken



At one time in my life--a time I would like to point out was after the age of nine--I thought it would be a valid career choice to be a private detective. There were always openings in the newspaper and it seemed like fun. So, why not? I'm sure it was just a few lame certifications and maybe pass a sniff test by a burly man who would hand me a camera and a no-questions-asked policy and I would be on my way to some well-earned riches.

I had this notion that detective work was a sad mixture of Agatha Christie and Law & Order. With the proper application of intelligence, you could gather enough information to solve pretty much anything. I knew that private dicks worked outside of the law, but that was just perfect--it was logic that made the job interesting, not the arcane, artificial rules of the law.

Then I realized that being a private detective wasn't about piecing together scraps of paper to solve a cipher or analyzing medieval poisons to catch a murderer, but mostly involved hiding in bushes to follow cheating husbands, and would most likely result in a fairly constant threat of getting cold-cocked by irate douchebags. And I wasn't going to get very far wearing a Key Club sweatshirt and tricking targets with my extensive knowledge of Magic: The Gathering tactics.

And then I realized that private detectives were often advertised not because they were in great demand and the necessary skills were hard to come by, but because the pay was shit and mostly involved dealing with assholes who want to kill you. So my short-lived fantasy of being the next Sam Spade or Pinkerton was over pretty quick.

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