Thursday, May 7, 2015
Early in my formative years, I discovered the detective novel. I got started reading Nancy Drew, girl detective and the Hardy Boys. Cut my teeth on them and quickly moved up to Raymond Chandler. I used to go to the library after school every day to read and it was very easy to do so back then as detective novels all carried a miniature symbol of a magnifying glass on their spines. I basically started at one end of the shelf and worked my way down. Of course I told my mother I was studying at the library, and in a way I was. I studied the way these hard boiled men handled themselves, wishing I had their self confidence. I learned a lot from Philip Marlow, Mike Hammer, Travis McGee, Sam Spade and Kinsey Milhone. Here are some of the lessons:
1. People who appear innocent, often are not. You better check carefully the motives of those around you. People are often not whom they seem to be. If you're not careful you could wind up being stabbed in the back.
2. The people who appear guilty often are not. Cases can be built up against the innocent by nefarious characters who are often covering their own tracks. Be careful whom you trust.
3. Listen to your gut. Guts are a good indication of something being 'off". Hard boiled detectives know to go with their gut when confronted with a situation. If it feels wrong, it probably is.
4. Take notes and refer to them often when trying to figure out a problem. Often the solution is right in front of you if you just look carefully enough.
5. Keep your wits about you. Don't let anyone get the drop on you. Pay attention to your surroundings and people you are dealing with. A smart person will always try to stay one step ahead.
6. Never, but never, go into a dark basement alone. Or an alley, or abandoned building or old cave.
7. Watch your back. Otherwise you could find yourself clunked on the head.
8. Always maintain your calm. Even when those around you are falling apart, keep your own demeanor intact. Even if you have to slap someone. (Humphrey Bogart was good at this)
9. Dames and Dudes--often trouble. Fixing other people's problems can be tricky and you are often left holding the bag.
10. Life on a boat can be really enjoyable--Thanks to Travis McGee!