Reading for Treasure

Safety and the Single Sleuth

Posted at Apr 12, 2017 8:00 am

I confess, I’ve watched too many James Bond movies, seen too much TV with impossible espionage twists and read too many spy/undercover cop stories. (I’ve even written scenes inspired by all of these movie, TV and book thrills.)

Although I’ve never had to fend off an insistent mob (enthusiastic readers of my books don’t count!) or fight my way through an angry hoard (airport baggage claim doesn’t count!), a part of my mind always dwells on safety. Years of martial arts and self-defense training and teaching will do that to a person.

So summon your inner secret agent—or wanna-be cop—and play a game with me. Open your purse and spill the contents onto the kitchen table. Imagine you have to thwart an evil villain and gain your freedom using only these items. (Hint: think of the bad guy in the book you’re currently reading or—my favorite from the movies—a deranged Garry Busey character.)

Now, list 10 items from your purse you can use for self-defense. (Men reading this can play, too—use the contents of your briefcase or your desk drawer instead of a purse.) Ready? GO!
purse                  purse

What did you find?  Below are some of the items that might come in handy for holding off thugs. Of course, you’ll see a common theme among them.

  1. Hairbrush. Rake the bristles across the face of an attacker. Or use the handle to poke at a soft spot like the hollow of the throat or the eyes.
  2. Depending on the construction of the comb, you can rake across the face (or other soft areas) or poke into eyes, ears, nose, etc.
  3. Lipstick (Chapstick) tube. Poke at soft spots. Use in your fist to give extra “umph” to a punch. Write a help message on a window or other surface (for colored lipstick)
  4. Ink pen. Stab into the eyes, ears, throat, groin or soft tissue of a hand, foot or other area.
  5. Breath-Spray or hand sanitizer. Spray into the eyes.
  6. Hairspray. Again, aim for the eyes. In movies the aerosol is often lit to form a fiery spray. I don’t recommend this as it can backfire by blowing up in your hand.
  7. Keys. Slash, poke and stab with these. Don’t thread the keys between your fingers—hold them in a way that would allow you to use them to enter your car or home if the opportunity presents itself.
  8. Long keychain. Swing that bad boy like a bolo aiming for your enemy’s face. Chances are good he won’t want to get hit with the wad of keys on the end of your great-aunt’s macramé key chain.
  9. Wallet. Yup. That wallet can save your life. Simply throw it with all of your might as far away from you as possible. Then run screaming like a banshee in the opposite direction. Most thieves will go for the quiet wallet and let the screaming victim get away.
  10. Finally consider using the bag itself as a weapon. You can swing it (like in #8), throw it (like in #9) or poke with it.
  11. BONUS: if you have a book (you do, don’t you?) the corner of it can be used to poke the throat, eyes, etc. almost as effectively as any of the other items mentioned above. And if you only have the Sky Mall magazine—roll it into a tight tube then poke, stab and swat away. See? Reading is good for you!


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