I’ve been thinking about a second career.
Mind you, I’m not talking about a second job. Recession or not, I’m too old to consider moonlighting a viable option. Unless, of course, I could work in bed, but most of those options are illegal everywhere but Nevada.
(Hey, there’s an idea! Maybe the “Love Ranch” would create a new post, just for me: A different kind of working girl — a surrogate ball and chain, if you will. Dressed in a ratty chenille robe, I could provide widowed and divorced guys select non-sexual experiences they might long for from their married days. For $100 bucks, I’d nag them to take out the garbage or put down the toilet seat. For $200, I’d give them the once-over and snidely ask, “Is that what you’re wearing?” Throw in an extra 50, I’d kick them out of bed for snoring and curl up with the dog. That’s a job I could master, if my husband wouldn’t mind the commute.)
But seriously, folks, I’m talking about a valid vocation for my second act — something to occupy my days in pre-retirement, after the daily grind finally makes me cry “Uncle!”
The question is: What would I do? It has to be something completely different but exciting, offering stimulating brain engagement, travel to exotic places, a humanitarian element, personal fulfillment, low stress levels plus medical, dental and a 401K plan.
I’ve considered all kinds of feasible possibilities: Peace Corps volunteer, Food Network star, Pilates instructor, professional dog whisperer … but nothing seemed to hit all the right notes.
Then, while watching the “Today” show, it struck me. The ideal made-to-order second career for a person with my unique but limited talents: I’ll be a spy!
The recent arrest and deportation of 10 alleged Russian secret agents gave me a game-changing epiphany: The Cold War isn’t over, after all. (Who knew?) Apparently, there are still high-paying jobs where you can dwell in a nice house in the ’burbs, get friendly with the mail carrier, attend soirees in the big city and rub elbows with people who may or may not have secret information. And the best part is, if you stink at it, the boss sends you home with a big, fat pension! What’s not to love?
Don’t you see? It’s perfect.
I’ve already got the basic equipment: laptop, camera phone, adorable raincoat. I love vodka. And I have years of espionage experience, to boot.
Raised in the era of “I Spy,” “Mission: Impossible” and “Get Smart,” my siblings and I loved to play “spy.” We’d spy on our friends. We’d spy on each other. We especially loved spying on our parents’ dinner parties. (Those grown-ups said some provocative things after a few martinis. We wrote down every word.)
As an adult, I was the Gladys Kravitz of every neighborhood we lived in. There wasn’t a divorce, new baby, out-of-town guest, summer vacation, extramarital affair, serious illness or personal bankruptcy I didn’t know about.
But my real undercover training came as a mother of teens. In the days before cell phones, it took all my resources and a tight network of my fellow mom operatives to track where kids were really going and with whom. We blew the lid off some dangerous covert schemes back in the day.
I am undoubtedly qualified for the job. Unfortunately, I may not be young and glamorous enough to get the gig. Government agencies like their moles to look more like Anna Chapman, not Betty White. They think men are more apt to give up their secrets to leggy lasses with perky breasts and pouty lips.
Well, I beg to differ.
After a few margaritas and two heaping helpings of my famous chicken enchiladas, I can get my husband to say anything.
I think the CIA needs to rethink the paradigm and get hip to boomer girls. After all, younger femme fatales are too busy oversharing the minutia of everyone’s lives on Twitter and Facebook. They can’t keep a secret!
My people, on the other hand, expose and protect more confidential information on a daily basis than the FBI could dream of knowing. It’s called “The Botox Code.” Enough said.
Unfortunately, I don’t think intelligence agencies are hiring at the moment. I guess I’ll stick with my old career, for now. Besides, those stakeouts can get mind-numbingly dull. And Nevada’s average high temperature in July is 105.
— Cathy Hamilton is a 54-year-old empty nester, wife, mother and author. She can be reached at 832-6319.