• Illustrations courtesy of Hallie Bateman. Read the full essay here


    Erika Schmidt’s “A Gentleman’s Guide to Surviving North by Northwest:

    "So you’re on the run. The bad news: you’re being pursued by both international spies and by the American police. The good news: you’re a wealthy, white, American male with a snappy tongue and a certain God’s-gift panache about you, so even with a couple of strikes against you, you’ll likely still come out smelling like a rose. Congratulations on that! Still, there are some essentials you’ll do well to remember if you want to escape with that chiseled mug intact.

    Do carry cash. You never know when your day is about to be interrupted by a potentially deadly case of mistaken identity. You’ll need to be able to buy tickets willy nilly, hail cabs, bribe bellboys, and execute all sorts of other spur-of-the-moment maneuvers. An empty wallet just won’t do, and with your pedigree, there’s no excuse for having one.

    Don’t trust women. Anyone who looks like Grace Kelly but isn’t Grace Kelly and uses that many double entendres is probably not your friend. Some things are too good to be true.

    Don’t go out to the field. If someone tells you to go out to a remote field of some sort in order to get important information, don’t do it. Seriously: why would you do this? This should go unsaid. Haven’t you ever seen Seven? This never, ever ends well. Just don’t do it.

    Do close the bathroom door and run the shower so your mortal enemy will think you’re occupied. Works every time.


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