Nobody does it better,
Makes me feel sad for the rest.
Nobody does it half as good as you,
Baby, you’re the best.
- Carly Simon
My Dad has always loved James Bond flicks. What’s not to love really? You’ve got a martini-swilling Brit who’s good with a gun and even better with the ladies. There’s intrigue, booze, and the promise of lots of hot sex on mink coats in a car that turns into a submarine.
It was a winning combo for a nuclear engineer who lived in the suburbs with his wife and their four children. I mean, he enjoys his evening cocktail (replace the Vesper with a scotch), and according to my Mom they had lots of sex (cue: fingers in the ears, and sing it with me LALALALALA), but figuring out how to unkink the garden hose was about as intriguing as things got in our neck of the woods.
Yep, my Dad is an OG fan from way back – we’re talking Sean Connery in Dr. No circa 1962 (before I was even a twinkle in his eye). He stayed loyal as Connery left and Roger Moore took the helm, which was a far easier transition to make than the shifts to follow. Timothy Dalton was cute enough, but he was missing the depth of character that makes James Bond so engaging. Pierce Brosnan was a much better choice, and his Bond days were a preview to the dashing character he played so well in The Thomas Crown Affair (if you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out). But the most current 007 – Daniel Craig – is the closest to the early days. He’s got just the right mix of ruthlessness, heartache, and badass.
As you may have gathered, I was educated early on all things 007. Octopussy. Sexy! That huge guy with the weird braces. Scary! And The Spy Who Loved Me. Which for my Dad may have been all about Barbara Bach in a bikini, but for me, it was that Carly Simon song.
In our house, Carly was played alongside Mac Davis, Simon & Garfunkel, and Anne Murray. It was probably a broader play list than that, but these are the ones I remember the most. A Sunday at my house meant listening to the wind chimes through the open sliding glass door, and hearing those 70s tunes come through the 8-track, while a baseball or golf game played (muted) on the TV. The house smelled like coffee and cigarettes, the LA Times were spread all over the coffee table, and the garden hose was kink-free. Saturday mornings were beauty parlor appointments and grocery shopping and the Little League field. But Sunday mornings were chill mode.
Those were good days. The memories from those days are what compels me to shop for wind chimes and listen to 70s music even now.
For Mom, nobody did it better than my Dad. She used to say that he could just look at her a certain way, or reach for his zipper (cue: LALALALALA) and she’d be pregnant. And she said that when he asked, her answer was always yes.
Frisky? Yep. (Her nickname wasn’t “Pussycat” for nothing.)
Crazy in love? Absolutely.
One wouldn’t necessarily expect all that game from a quiet engineer hailing from South Bend, Indiana, but still waters run deep.
Maybe on those Sunday mornings, before the stereo and golf got going, a little 007 mission was happening behind the closed bedroom door. Perhaps Dad took a sip of his
chilled martini coffee, set it down on the cockpit control panel
bedside table, and handled his business with the babe in the bikini his
wife of many, many years. All I know is they told me they were “talking”, and I
found that boring, so I wandered back down the hallway and left them to their
The bottom line is that I grew up knowing certain things were good. Wind chimes. James Bond. Unconditional love. Music on Sundays. Coffee. “Conversations” behind a closed bedroom door.
And I grew up knowing that Mom was hopelessly devoted and happily convinced that nobody did anything better than my Dad. Selfishly, I like to think the last line of the chorus – Baby, you’re the best – applied to her baby. Me.
I’m pretty sure I’m right on that count. And she was right too, of course. That suburban Bond girl was a smart lady.
Suddenly, I have a taste for a martini. Who's pouring?