Platinum In The Boot
My now deceased Uncle Karl was a top metals engineer who'd been brought on by a firm that was working on top-secret materials for the NASA Apollo spaceflight project. One Saturday when we were visiting his home, he brought me out into the drive where his car was parked. He popped open the boot, rustled around and handed me a heavy brick of silver metal. He had a few of them in there, haphazardly dumped in the boot bottom, covered over by a canvas tarpaulin.
"Do you know what that is?" he asked.
"Ummm, lead," I ventured.
"No. It's platinum. It's worth more than gold." This was in the days when Sean Connery was still playing Bond and who could forget Goldfinger? Especially the parts where Jill Masterson is painted gold, or when Bond drops the bar of Nazi gold on the golf green?
I was impressed but confused. "Why are you carrying it around in the boot?" I asked.
Now, he drove a typical genius engineer's ride - a tan ford with a few dents and scratches. It was a completely unremarkable and rather ugly four-door sedan.
"Who is going to try to steal anything from this?" he asked me, laughing.
He shut the boot and I have never forgot that moment.
My uncle was a real secret agent. It also proves, as does this story, that materials engineers aren't exactly careful with, well, their materials.