What are some of the things you would do if someone offered you one thousand dollars? The question has been buzzing around my head for a while now. Here’s my list: Read 365 books in a year. Make 200 crank phone calls. Pretend to be Paul McCartney. Walk from one end of my room to the other. Ring up a school friend and apologise for hiding his books during a class picnic. Sing the Happy Birthday song off key for two hours. And that’s it. I can’t think of too many other things. After all, a thousand dollars doesn’t go as far as it used to in the 19th century.
The sharper among you, dear readers, might have noticed that one significant item is not on that list: Binge-watching all 24 James Bond movies. Perhaps it has something to do with an unhappy childhood, or indeed a happy one. Perhaps it is a flaw in my character. Whatever the reason, I don’t find binge-watching 24 James Bond movies all that attractive. But doing that is what some website is offering one thousand dollars for. Not binge-watching Jeeves and Wooster or the Hercule Poirot series or the movies of Coen brothers – all of which I have done. But James Bond. I would be both shaken and stirred if I did that, even if, as Bond assures us, we only live twice.
It’s nothing personal, mind you. I have seen all the James Bond movies – but spaced out over the years. In school I told friends I didn’t want to be James Bond when I grew up, I preferred one of his villains. The latter seemed to be having more fun, and had a greater range. Bond often came across as a stuffed shirt (apart from everything else). Years later, I realised I had not been alone in choosing to be the villain.
Here’s what the late great physicist Stephen Hawking had to say: "My ideal role would be a baddie in a James Bond film. I think the wheelchair and the computer voice would fit the part." I am amazed the producers didn’t take him up on the offer.
Still, to binge-watch someone saying "My name’s Bond, James Bond" over and over and over (23 ‘overs’ in all) takes a particular kind of temperament, one that I don’t possess. And if I did, it couldn’t be hired for a mere thousand dollars. Maybe that’s my complaint: It’s too little for too much.
Now if I were to be paid that money as the Bond villain, that would be something I might consider. Till then, my answer will have to be, as Bond might say, a firm Dr No.