Last week, I read Eamon Javers’ article on BuzzFeed about Tom Corbally, “a private investigator whose career crisscrossed continents and spanned decades.”
It’s an absolutely fascinating read. It’s literally a story straight out of Hollywood. Corbally was the “original most interesting man in the world.” He rubbed elbows with Hollywood types, flew on corporate jets for vacations with automotive legend Lee Iacocca and, on one occasion, at a horse race in Paris, he was whisked into box seats with Middle Eastern royals. He even reportedly spotted the diplomat Henry Kissinger in a New York restaurant and greeted him as an old pal, saying, “Henry, how the fuck are ya?” He also became a close confidant and client of “Hollywood Madam” Heidi Fleiss.
While I read the article with complete awe, I was struck by how different my life as a private investigator has been. Although even some of my closest friends think I have some secret spy life, I spend most of my days sitting behind my computer digging through the darkest areas of the Internet. I’ve never rubbed elbows with diplomats, flown on a corporate jet or befriended anyone running a high-class prostitution ring.
While Corbally lived in another era, today’s age of social media makes it seem that meaningful lives are extraordinary and attention-grabbing ones. In an opinion piece published in The New York Times, Emily Esfahani Smith argues: “The most meaningful lives, I’ve learned, are often not the extraordinary ones. They’re the ordinary ones lived with dignity.”
It’s OK that you are not going to be famous.
Or have some remarkable and glamorous career.
Or do something so extraordinary and attention-grabbing that you will end up in folklore like Tom Corbally.
In my short career, I’ve done some really fascinating work on some really high-profile cases. But I have no interest in rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, mayor of New York or pitching in a national advertisement for a turkey club.
And my life will never end up being the subject of a Hollywood movie, I can assure you of that.
That’s not what I want.
While I am a private investigator and want to be the best private investigator that I can be, I am first and foremost a husband, the father to two amazing kids, a sports junkie, and a lover of all things food-related.
The private investigator gig is just something that can allow me to live an ordinary life and be the best husband and father I can be – and maybe take me to a few sporting events and eateries around the world.