I Was Born For Missions To Target For Windex and Tampons

I was born to lead top secret CIA missions.

That was the first not-quite-realistic thought I had while sitting in the darkened movie theater, feeling breathless from anxiety about whether Ben Affleck was going to be able to get the hostages out of Iran in Argo.

It looked like it was energizing to face a very armed Iranian revolutionary soldier.  The secrecy and the adrenaline rush of clandestine operations appealed to me as I nibbled my Clif bar that I snuck into the theater (which kind of proves I am awesome at being secret-agent-y) during the matinée.

By the time Jeff and I were out on the sidewalk, I had convinced myself that a life with a little more . . . danger was exactly what I needed.

I’m up for it!  I convinced myself.

I was supposed to be perusing the menu for a quick lunch before our babysitter clocked out, but I was thinking about how long it would take me to master Farsi.  I gave myself six months, then I ordered a burrito (to demonstrate that I had already mastered “menu Spanish”).

Oh my god, my legal degree! Surely, it would make me eligible for all kinds of “state secrets.” I visualized that Obama himself would give me “clearance” and a badge and that special briefcase that agents always carry in the movies. Would he let me have a floral backpack instead? You know, to make me seem less threatening.

This is GREAT news! I love promotions and I bungle stuff all the time

This is GREAT news! I love promotions and I bungle stuff all the time.

Uh oh, did Jeff just say something to me? I think he asked if I liked the movie.

“It made a big impression on me,” I said, hoping it was an answer to whatever he asked me.

Would I get to make up my own code names for my missions?  As I bit into my food, I was thinking I would name my covert operations after popular nail polish colors: Operation Ballet Slippers or Operation Lincoln Park After Dark.  Who would ever say, “Hey, why is your top secret operation named after nail polish?”

Uh oh, Jeff just said something again; he’s looking at me as if he wants an answer.  Clearly, I would have to get better at multi-tasking if I planned to rise through the ranks at the CIA.

“You seem distracted?” Jeff said.  Clearly, with Jeff’s level of attention to detail, he would have to be briefed by my bosses on the declassified parts of my missions. And of course we’d have to update our wills and get more life insurance on me, since I’d probably die first.

“Me? Nah. I was just thinking about . . .  my schedule,” I said, practicing lying to the person who knows me the best.

“What are you doing this afternoon?” he asked, unaware how my new career was about to plunge our lives into uncertainty.

Wait! Maybe he should join with me. Nah, that was a horrible idea. He’d inevitably upstage me, and this whole CIA thing? It needs to be something “just for me.”

“When we get home I am taking both kids to Target,” I answered truthfully, which would really throw him off.  He’d be all When is she lying? When is she telling the truth?

“Two kids at Target during rush hour? Good luck with that,” Jeff said, standing up to put on his coat.

Wait. He’s right. My afternoon is gonna suck. Panic was rising.  Sure, they are cute and their combined weight is less than 70 pounds, but honestly, they can take me down. Hard.  It’s happened before.  They are dangerous.

“Jeff? I’m never gonna be in the CIA am I?” I asked, sensing my newly-born dream was about to die a swift death.

Once he stopped laughing, he gave me an honest answer– something to the effect of “no F-ing way.”

He’s right.

Turns out I was actually born to run missions to grab tampons and Windex at Target with my two-and -three-year olds.  That’s danger enough for me.


83 thoughts on “I Was Born For Missions To Target For Windex and Tampons

  1. Target is where I take weekly “sanity excursions”. If I could I’d get on a private jet to some fab beach (not happening in Washington–while our beaches are fab they are ridiculously cold)….so unti l that day we win the lotto without buying a ticket, target will have to suffice. HILARIOUS. Thank you! Also, we loved ARGO too. How could you not? Two words: Ben Affleck.

  2. I can’t get past the fact that you actually went to a movie for grown-ups…

    And taking kids to Target is a death-defying mission. I’m positive of that…

  3. This is great! My 15-month-old can take me out with one of her munchkin attacks. Clearly I’d be ill prepared for the CIA. I might do great in CSIS though (the Canadian version….full of buffoons I fear).

  4. Loved this! The dialogue, your thought process. Everything!

    I guess I’m impressionable too bc I totally feel you taking your movie reality back with you into the real world. In fact I can’t even watch movies during the day because somehow the sunshine throws a brighter spotlight on the oh so uncinematic life I lead. I need the cover of dark I guess. But maybe this’ll make you feel better: Argo totally embellished. It’s true they used a movie cover to get these guys out, but pretty much everything else is bogus. Oh, and I once read a book by a real life CIA agent – a smart young woman, just like you. So, it’s basically about bribing people with US University educations and other goodies so that they’ll give you intel. She totally demystified it for me. Feel better? ; )

  5. This reminds me of the time I saw some spy movie (perhaps even Spy Games) and then walked out of the bathroom afterwards, eyes all aglow and searching for details I could remember: the guy reading a magazine behind the counter with the popcorn, the small child trying to fish a quarter out of a video game, the two teens making out in the corner. Then my husband called out my name. In my attention to detail, I had walked right past where he stood–in the very center of the lobby. Back to writing, where I can make up the details.

  6. I think I’m too old to have that sort of dream anymore. I’m getting to the age where they pull you out of service and put you in the file room down in the basement. Unless you’re a bad ass like Bruce Willis, then you can keep kicking butt, even after retirement.

    Funny post. And for the record, I’d rather infiltrate a hostile nation to rescue hostages than go shopping for tampons for my wife. I’m just saying? 🙂

  7. To be fair, I doubt many seasoned CIA agents could handle a crowded Target with two toddlers. And the male ones would flinch at the lady-products aisle.

  8. Ha! Love it! I heard Target missions are the first rung of training for most CIA agents. Top secret of course. Mike and I often joke about our fitness for spy careers (loveable, bumbling parents is our cover story, but don’t tell anyone). Great story!

  9. CIA? Hell, you get to be President if you can wrangle your way through Target with two little ones during rush hour and emerge in one piece without forgetting what you went in for!

  10. I always wished I’d studied arabic or some other CIA desirable language in college. I’d want to be one of the peeps who gets to study videos and newspapers from other countries to keep track of what they’re up to.
    You might be more fit for this work than you think- Driving in rush hour traffic shows your propensity for risky behavior!

  11. I think taking a 2 and 3 year old to Target and coming out not aggravated is probably harder than smuggling people out of Iran. I’m sure you could be a CIA agent. I think you should pursue it.

  12. Hilarious! This post hits a little too close to home…I actually do speak several foreign languages and tried out for the CIA after college, only to decide that I’d rather have a life of stability and get married and have kids. Now I work a predictable 9-5 job and pick up Mega Bloks and puzzle pieces after a 2.5 year old on my days off…a life of adventure 🙂

    • Can you teach your children those languages while you are building? And I like to remind myself that I once got assigned to a case in Germany and then begged to be pulled off because I couldn’t take it. So yea, the CIA would be great.

  13. One step ahead of you! My daughter is fully bilingual, I speak to her only in my native Russian. Hubby is American though, so her English is much stronger but I hope she appreciates my efforts when she grows up and doesn’t resent me for making her life temporarily more difficult… (I’m in therapy too, if you couldn’t tell. Ha!)

  14. The other day I went to see Skyfall (alone) and spent the entire film trying to decide which agency I’d grace with my presence while at the same time maintaining my cover as a simple stenographer and mother of two. On my way home I stopped at Target and bought Children’s Motrin (generic of course) and some cucumbers. I think my cover is safe, and so is yours.

    • I don’t know about that, Missy. The way you talked about your dieting fads kept me smiling for 48 hours. I don’t know whether to say I’m sorry or Congratulations about sharing brain waves like mine!!!

  15. ““What are you doing this afternoon?” he asked, unaware how my new career was about to plunge our lives into uncertainty.” I loved this. Very Walter Mitty like with a bit of the movie True Lies thrown in. (Back when we could look at Arnold and love him. It would help if we don’t know so much about everyone’s private lives these days.) I could honestly say I’m too big of a chicken to even fantasize about being a CIA agent. But I enjoyed yours.

  16. Going to Target with small children would probably be danger enough. I always thought I would make a great spy, but they tend to get shot at. I’m really NOT OK with that.

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