Tuesday, 7 April 2009

The Case of the P.I That Never Was

When we were growing up, my oldest sister, G, wanted to be a private investigator. We watched all kinds of sleuthing shows, from Murder She Wrote (which, incidentally, I still watch because Jessica Fletcher is hard core) to Magnum P.I. And my father, scoffing at what passed for detective/mystery drama in our day, was always at the ready with stories of Columbo, McCloud and Steve Austin, who wasn't even a police detective but - judging from the silly grin and the slow motion running reenactment - was clearly far too exciting for my father to exclude. But my sister wasn't feeling employment by The Man. She wanted to run her own ship, keep her own hours, and possibly also fly around in a helicopter and wear tiny white shorts.

Whatever her reasons, one day, she announced that she was going to be a P.I., and we believed her. She was always quick on the draw with the "butler did it" conclusions, although, to be fair, she had 3-5 years brain development on the rest of us. And when you're seven years old, that qualifies as an unfair advantage. My mother probably believed her the most of all of us. She took her teaching of "you can be whatever you want" extremely seriously. When I was 11, I told her I was going to be a journalist. She said "Ok," and then called up the newscaster and told him I was going to be a journalist and he should give me an 'internship' because I was fabulous. Did I mention that I was 11? So he gave me the 'internship', which consisted of following everyone around the newsroom and studios for two weeks while they told me how everything worked and talked to me as if I was a real, grown-up person. Then I spent the rest of the summer pointing at the newsreaders saying "I know him!" to all who would listen. Of course, since this was Barbados, everyone pretty much just rolled their eyes and said something like "Yeah me too. He plays cricket on the pasture behind my house."

But still, my mother believed we were serious about our ambitions, so she got a bit concerned when G said she wanted to be a P.I., and spent an entire afternoon counseling her that she would support her, of course, but that this might not be the best idea because private investigating was dangerous work, and lonely, and probably didn't pay all that well because the ones on TV pretty much just slept in their cars and ate sandwiches. Meanwhile, my other sister was looking at us as if we were all insane, and muttering that it was the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard because how much work did G think there was in Barbados for a P.I, there was barely anywhere to hide and peek at people, and anyway where would you even go to school for that?

I, however, was excited. I was picturing lots of cool stories of voyages far and wide to uncover the Mystery of the Unearned Urn (yes I read lots of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. What? I was very little) or similar exploits. So I was looking forward to this career path. Sadly, it never materialized. G, still possessed of her wonderfully probing and analytical mind, is now a therapist. A therapist is decidedly not a private investigator. And it occurs to me that I feel extremely cheated.


  1. LOL , that made me laugh so much because I think I remember Miss G's desire to become the next Magnum PI and I could just picture the scene of your mother attempting to "gently" dissuade her.

  2. Where is the photo of Higgins??!!

  3. What none of you know is that Miss G did become that PI and the life she now appears to lead is part of her foolproof 'cover'.
    Miss G

  4. @ grainjah: You, not unlike my father, are entirely too invested in Higgins. Those were his favourite scenes as well.

    @ Gail aka Miss G (I think you mean Ms :p):
    If this is true, you are possibly the worst P.I in the history of the profession. Don't worry. When you get fired, you can come live with me.


Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence