The people you meet as a reenactor....

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The people you meet as a reenactor....

Post  Ghostsoldier on August 14th 2009, 7:19 am

I thought this was appropriate; a buddy of mine in a 1930's civilian reenacting group sent it to me....

For some time now, I have been mentally compiling a list of the personality types you encounter in the public at display events. This list may sound like I hate going to these events, but that’s not the case. But with any pastime, there are some annoying aspects. The written list was born at Armed Forces Day this year. A buddy of mine and I were sitting in his WW2 Jeep eating lunch. This older guy (between WW2 and Vietnam vet ages) came by and started the most boring “in the service” stories I’ve ever heard and hung there for quite some time. We just nodded a lot and ate away. After he mercifully left, we started running through all the types of folks you see at these kinds of events. Aside from the really "in your face" agressive types, we always keep quiet or just let them go on and on but anyone in the hobby for any time should recognize these types of people. Naturally, the really great and nice folks don't make this list.
So, here it is:

* The postwar vet who never went anywhere or did anything and wants SOMEONE to hear his barracks floor buffer stories.
* The ROTC cadet who has to show off his skills because his friends are sick of watching demonstrations of low=2 0crawling or how to disassemble an M-16.
* The Lawyer. This person knows next to nothing about the law excepy that the guns you're showing HAVE to be illegal to own, right? This person is a firm believer in all the amendments of the constitution. Except for the second, of course.
* The baby-boomer who wants to know everything about their long-departed father but can’t recall anything about his service (and always says “No” to every question asked to try to narrow it down, leaving you to wonder if Dad maybe served with the Germans).
* The tag-along. In days past, these kids would have marched behind units going off to war as if they were one of them. Now, their parents have bought little Johnny a airsoft gun, some postwar web gear and maybe a Chinese knockoff M-42 jacket. In his mind, he’s one of you and wants to be included in your group. The fact that he’s nine years old apparently makes that “cute” to his parents who have no issues with dumping him off at your display are for the duration of their visit to the show. While they can someday become good re-enactors, they don’t get that people see them and will associate them (and the standards of their “impression”) with your group. In some cases, his family has your group’s yearly schedule down and you see them more often than you see your own family members.
* The thankful civilian. Usually a housewife and possibly the spouse of someone in t he military, they’re locked into not repeating the sins of the Vietnam generation, and will gush gratitude to anyone in uniform just in case. While not annoying and their hearts are in the right place, they can be embarrassing to those who either never served or don’t have the heart to explain that their M-42 jump suit is NOT being used in Iraq today.
* The video game kid. They're between 8 and 16 (when if they have real game, they would have discovered girls), and will proceed to tell you all the false info they learned off their videogames and that you can't possibly be right about a Tommy gun magazine only having either 20 or 30 round magazines because “Call to Bulge 5” has an unlimited bullet supply in one.
* The “I didn’t use that” WW2 vet. This elder statesman has about as much tact as he has recollection of the past. He can’t recall much, but by God, what you have in your display is NEVER what he carried in the war. And if you pull out what he said he carried, he’ll say in fact, he carried something else more often anyway.
* The Toucher. This OCD-riddled soul must take part in laying of the hands on each individual thing your brought to the display. “Do not touch” sign? What sign? They sometimes will even move the ‘keep you meathooks off’ sign to pick up that original SSF knife as if it were his pocket knife back home.
* The New-Age hippie. This granola-munchin g flower child is all about tolerance and diversity. That is, UNTIL they see anything military. Then the most rude and mean things will come out of them. Why they came to a show devoted to a topic they hate will always be a mystery. Perhaps they smoked a bit too much Panama Red before they showed up and made a wrong turn on their way to protest at the local recruiter.
* The “you got robbed” guy. Yes, he came to the show to see all this stuff so he must know it’s rare, but he’ll have a stroke when you answer his questions on values. When you explain that that original M-2 helmet is worth more than some new cars, he’ll look at you like you’re insane, then sound off about how nuts you must have been to pay for it at all or that he can buy them all day at the local surplus store.
* “The camper.” He’s the guy (they’re always guys) with questionable intelligence, social skills and hygiene, who will stand at your display ALL DAY and try to muscle into every conversation you have with the pubic, often with ramblings that don’t fit the discussion. Often you can totally ignore The Camper’s existence and they’ll just hang there all day anyway. They’re probably biding time between Star Trek conventions.
* The “$50 Jeep new in the crate” guy. If you have no idea what this means, ask a military Jeep owner. They’ll explain.
* The Information Gatekeeper. This person20trolls the internet looking for obscure info all the time. They never see the insides of any legitimate research archives, though. Their primary hobby is proclaiming how they’re the ONLY person on earth who knows obscure info such as the size bullet that goes in a M-1 rifle, how many machine guns a P-51 carried, Patton’s middle name and such impossible-to-find info as this. Most of the time, they don’t even collect anything at all, unless you count annoyed people.
* The Gang Banger. He knows nothing of history, but he loves picking up guns, holding them sideways for his “homies” to see, flashing gang signs for their cell phones, talking about how sweet it’d be to “pop a cap” in the backside of one of their imagined enemies. In reality, he’s probably about as into a gang as you are.
* The Swap Meet guy. He thinks EVERYTHING is for sale, and won’t accept no for an answer. If you get tired and say something like “yes, I’ll take a million bucks for that,” he’ll be offended and in his eyes, YOU are the jerk.
* The Movie buff. He doesn’t know much about history, but he can quote any movie line ever. He’ll camp out at your display wanting to pick apart every war movie ever made. While not annoying in small doses (who doesn’t do this from time to time?), this person has clearly worn his welcome out when he starts to debate how accurate the shields in “Gladiator really were.
* The Collector. This person love nothing more than coming to displays just to tell you how much better all his stuff is. Mind you, nobody’s actually SEEN his Sherman tank, B-17 fuselage or the remains of Hitler’s skull (or even photos of same), but he’ll spend a lot of time telling you why his collection is far more impressive than your “little gathering” of stuff.
* The vague kid. It’s not done intentionally, but this child is always alone, asking if you have, “You know, that thing that shoots? You know, like the thing I saw in that movie with my friend Billy?” You’re left standing there wondering if the kid is really speaking English or not and what they must be teaching children in school because surely you could describe something better than that when you were a kid.
* Captain Obvious. This is the person who must feel like they’re imparting knowledge to someone. The problem is, what they impart is clear to anyone over the age of two. They make the remarks about how the wool uniform must be hot, that Tommy gun must be heavy or that you can’t just buy a WW2 Jeep at a dealership anymore. They’re never alone, and you really must feel pity for their wives or parents.
* The 2nd Amendment custodian. This person doesn’t really care about history, only the rights of gun owners. That in itself isn’t bad, you generally don’t want to hear a constitutionally que stionable lecture on what the founding fathers had in mind and what “them people in DC” are trying to do to get your guns. When they start talking about the UN getting ready to invade the US and round all us “God fearing gun owners” up, you are left praying someone will come up and ask if that MK II grenade is real.
* The indulgent parent. While aware that you don’t want people sitting in your jeep or fiddling with your M1919, you should make an exception for their kid. They never say so to this little claw machine, so why should you? Often, they’ll just indulge little Johnny then saunter away while you tell them you don’t want their little ankle biter trying to start your jeep or shoot up people with your rifles. You have to wonder how many re-enactors being restrained from committing infanticide can be seen in the backgrounds of these people’s photos.
* The A-Team fan. This person will look over your group, then launch into a “wouldn’t it be cool if” scenario involving your group being dropped into Pakistan to capture Bin Laden of something equally insane. The best thing to do is to suggest a neat novel called “Grey Eagles” by Duane Unkefer (I’m not kidding, it’s actually a pretty good book).
* The air soft kid. Never mind that you have an original M1 bazooka and other items that you can’t find in most museums. This kid (and they’re ALWAYS kids) will walk hundreds of yards away directly toward your weapons and either ask if any are air soft (or God forbid you actually have one, what the “FPS is” on it because in their world, everything must be internally modified to be acceptable). If you have none, they’ll look detached for a moment then wander away, leaving you to wonder if they realize that there is such a thing as REAL firearms that shoot bullets.
* The Nomenclature troll. This person must live to go through technical manuals. They’ll ask the most obscure questions, such as how many different plants made mainsprings for 1911A1s (and where they all were) or what was the exact number of parts in the rear differential of a Willys MB Jeep made in 1943. Never mind they have never owned any of these things, but they will look down upon anyone who doesn’t have the exact same trivial knowledge in their brains. For fun, turn it around and ask if they know how to even load a 1911 or how to start a WW2 Jeep. They probably won’t know.
* The conspiracy theorist. The only thing lacking is a trench coat and sunglasses. FDR caused Pearl Harbor. Patton was assassinated to keep the peace with the Russians. The Iwo Jima flag photo was staged. Glenn Miller was abducted by aliens. There’s no end to the “global conspiracy” that goes back even that far. When they get going on how the Holocaust was a fraud set up by the US and the Russians, you should be within your legal right to fix bayonets.

Any others that I’ve missed?
Last edited by Lee Bishop


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