..Chloe Thomkins..

Being Ms. James Bond

When Lucy was little she wanted to be like James Bond, but there were no jobs like that for girls. None.

She wasn't pretty or simple enough get into the position of Bond girl, but she didn't want to. Nor did she aspire to the work of poor Miss Moneypenny, who never got to do anything fun, and remained stuck in the office waiting for James to occasionally walk in and pay attention to her. With her heart all aflutter, he would then dash away. Other than that, she hopped around tending to the boss' secretarial needs, never leaving the building except to go home at night, alone. Quite simply, Miss Moneypenny set a good example of what Lucy did not want to do. She vowed never to end up in such a life, and if there were no James Bond positions available, she would create one.

The fact that girls were not encouraged to pursue the exciting life of global spy did not deter Lucy from her attraction to secret missions and far-off lands. The only problem was that old danger of being killed aspect. She decided that the best way to create an equally thrilling life was to become a journalist. That way, she could 1) go on missions that would help people, 2) have adventures and write about them, 3) avoid situations involving guns and beatings and 4) never end up like Ms. Moneypenny.

Journalism had the added appeal of being quite acceptable for girls. You could do anything by yourself and if someone asked you what you were doing there you could look up, without blinking, and say, "I'm a journalist" and they would leave you alone. Or they would talk to you. Being on a mission as a writer could unlock doors to vital information, wonderful friends, and of course, breathtaking adventures. No one would be tempted to say, "What kind of girl are you, hanging out here by yourself?" Instead they would think, "Okay. She's cool."

That settled, Lucy pretended to study journalism when she got to college. She wanted to learn about everything, but they insisted on these things called "majors," so she changed her major -- and universities -- a number of times until she felt she'd learned enough. Then, she walked into a newspaper office.

"I really want to work here. I'll do anything. Sweep floors, whatever. I just want to work here."
The large, black receptionist replied with a smile, "Are you inquiring about our internship program?"
"Um, yes. That's right," said Lucy.

She was sent upstairs to see a curly-haired man with glasses who tried his best to act cranky.

"We don't accept people who just walk in here," said the serious editor, "we just happen to need someone right away...it's usually not this easy but...can you start on Monday?"

And so began Lucy's career in secret agent special missions. She would never be Miss Moneypenny, ever.

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Copyright © The New Sun Newspaper 2005