Ever since I was young the James Bond films have been important to me. I remember a journey with my family in which my cousins and I played at diving like in Thunderball, holding a ballpoint in our mouths like a respirator; although in a wheelchair I was able to relive some of my favourite scenes from the Bond films.
The first object in my collection was a precious toy Aston Martin DB5 with ejector seat, bullet screen and machine guns in the bumpers. I still have it in and it remains in good condition, although slightly scuffed from playing with it; I later bought another to save as a treasure in perfect condition.
Soon I was able to collect all the films, which I still have on VHS, and looked forward to buying all the Ian Fleming books I could find in Spanish.
And when I was 21 years old I acquired my trusty blue Omega Seamaster, which I consider the true Bond watch; Pierce Brosnan was the first 007 actor to wear it in Goldeneye. In fact, my first Parker Jotter ballpoint arrived before it appeared in Goldeneye, where I was happy to see it used as a gadget by Q branch. I still use it to this day and am currently using it now to write this short article.
One of my earliest memories of the Bond films was when Q travelled to Nassau to show 007 his diving equipment in Thunderball; Bond’s sub-aquatic propulsion and the scenes in which he chases Emilio Largo through submarine caves were indelibly etched on my mind.
So far I suppose my story is pretty much similar to yours.
Returning to my wheelchair-bound reality, perhaps I will never be like Bond, at last physically. However, when it comes to determination – just like Bond being beaten and suffering torture at the hands of his foes – I can say that I have resisted the torture of an illness I have battled since the age of 007 months with the same fighting spirit.
Ten years ago I was fortunate enough to take my first diving course. And what a surprise! More Bond moments…
From the start my instructor put in my hands a sub-aquatic propulsion device (unarmed of course) and, with the excitement of a child, I began to dive with what I now know as a “scooter” or DPV (Diver Propulsion Vehicle, shown below).
Little-by-little I gained experience and passed various courses starting to dive in caverns and caves; each time I felt closer to my hero. And such effort has rewarded me with recognition in the diving world so that today I am one of the few technical divers with disabilities and have colleagues who help me and create things for me, just like Q branch.
My wheelchair is designed for diving, forest paths or sipping a vodka martini in my favourite hotel; I sincerely believe that if Bond temporarily needed a wheelchair, Q would design him one similar, but the DPVs that I use (below in action) are the best on the market and the equal of those used Bond in the field.
In my luggage I always carry a deck of Casino Royale playing cards, my new Casino Royale swimming trunks (the colour matches my chair), my Timothy Dalton style cigarette lighter, my metal cigarette case and, now that it has become fashionable again, a Sean Connery style hat.
Also, like Bond, I receive my new watches from a company that specializes in diving watches (CREPAS), which I wear on a NATO strap similar to that worn by Sean Connery.
While I don’t believe I am James Bond, I do think that everyone has something of Bond internally and this makes me imagine what would happen if 007 suffered too much physical damage while on a mission, breathing gases that attack the central nervous system, ending in a wheelchair for a while with his ego battered… Probably he would need someone like me to help him find his way.
Who knows, perhaps it would be a good story arc for Daniel Craig, the current James Bond.
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