My husband and I love watching crime shows on TV, as well as the occasional action flick. Some are better than others, and we’ve adopted a saying: Suspend Your Disbelief. As in, you know you’re watching fiction, but sometimes things are just too farfetched, and you have to suspend your disbelief and enjoy the show. Can you really slide all the way down a 100-story building on a banner and survive? Sure. Can you really jump out of a plane without a parachute and survive? Definitely. And of course you can cause an object with no fuel and no flammable parts to explode in a giant fireball with a single, standard bullet. Duh! We’ve found that I have a much higher tolerance for those stories that push the boundaries of reality than he does, but overall, we’re happy to hop on the train and go for the ride. But that’s the action. What about the toys you see on these shows, those fabulous, crazy toys?
They use some pretty cool toys on the shows we watch; for instance, any crime lab on any CSI. Those kinds of labs and toys don’t exist, at least not the way they’re represented on TV. You just can’t put pixels that weren’t captured in the security video back in (law enforcement experts presenting at writers’ conferences can be dreadfully honest about these things). But, far more of the gadgets we see actually do exist than you might realize. I did a quick Google search on “spy gadgets.” Wow. Just, wow. First, I guess I should have expected both Amazon.com and Ebay.com to have lots of entries here, but I didn’t. And my favorite site name? SpyGadgets.com. What can you find at SpyGadgets.com?
Night Vision Hidden Camera Alarm Clock? Check.
Portable Pen Bug Detector? Check.
Fifty-cent Covert Knife Coin? Check. (Betcha didn’t know you could get one of those, didya?)
Disappearing ink pen, hidden handcuff keys (in many forms), telephone voice changers, listening device jammers, hat cameras, telephone blockers (to keep those pesky incoming calls away), smart phone activity monitoring (complete with data recovery for any deleted texts), and my favorite: the Titanium Escape Ring (with built in saw blade and handcuff shim pick combo tool). A quick perusal of other sites lands you a watch with a hidden, high-end video camera and microphone, hidden camera sunglasses, and a stun gun cell phone. Cameras, stun guns, and pepper spray disguised as lipstick. There was even a laser-surveillance by-pass gadget, and a Windows software password breaker. One site had a “James Bond Gadgets” sub-category. These sites even have blogs! No conscientious consumer should make a purchase without reading the “Hidden Camera Buyers Guide.” Right?
The next time you’re watching a cool action flick or a great detective show, remember this–you probably can’t identify a suspect from a partial fingerprint in under three seconds from an international database, but you can likely clear your kitchen of listening devices, record your cat’s nightly prowl, and remain prepared to break out of handcuffs with your friends and family being none the wiser.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some shopping to do.