Kuryakin's wispy blond hair trailed lightly across his forehead. So I, too, combed my hair down on my forehead. Unfortunately, my hair was black and curly, and no matter how many times I went to the school bathroom to press it back down, it kept boinging up.

According to something I read, or maybe it was just something I made up, the CIA operative-turned-Russian-spy Aldrich Ames was discovered when investigators found something incriminating in his refuse that helped nail the CIA operative-turned-Russian spook.

Apparently, Ames never watched The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I can assure you that Illya Kuryakin would never have been undone by his trash. First of all, Kuryakin didn't have trash. He was too busy traveling to the nests of communism, such as East Berlin, Moscow, and Berkeley, California. You don't generate a lot of trash when you're constantly on the move.

But even if he didn't travel, Kuryakin would have known better. Heck, even as a budding would-be spy back in my suburban childhood home, I knew that the first rule of spying was never, ever throw out anything incriminating in your own trash. Whenever I went to the local drugstore to buy a package of M&Ms, for example, I threw the wrapper out in a sidewalk trash can because if I threw it out at home and my parents (or the government, whichever) found it, they'd know that I was spending my allowance money on candy when I should have been saving it for college or "a rainy day," whatever that was, and I'd get a talking to (or thrown in jail, whichever).

Another thing I learned from Kuryakin was how to talk in code. This came in handy during surreptitious phone conversations in later teenage years when you never knew who might be listening, but you figured it might just include the FBI (or your parent, same thing). These days, code is the language of choice between my wife and me when we are trying to discuss something we'd rather our young son not hear.